Theater Info for the Washington DC region

Summer and Smoke: Another Solid Show from Port City

By • Jun 10th, 2006 • Category: Reviews

Listen to our review of Port City Playhouse’s production of Summer and Smoke [MP3 3:47 1.1MB].

Laura: We saw the opening night performance of Summer and Smoke performed by Port City Playhouse.

Mike: Summer and Smoke is a play written by Tennessee Williams. It takes place in Mississippi in 1916. The two main characters are Alma and John. Alma is the daughter of a minister, she lives next door to John who is the son of a doctor. John’s path in life is set. He’s going to be a doctor. Alma feels that her life has been set she’s going to be the dutiful daughter of a minister and has to do all the things her mother can’t do because her mother is ill. The show revolves around the relationship of John and Alma and their desires and wants for each other and for life.

Laura: I really liked it. I thought it was a really enjoyable evening. I liked watching the change between John and Alma throughout the story line.

Mike: I really enjoyed this show, too. The cast worked really well togther. They all fit into their roles really well. The casting was really well done. The show is about two hours long with a fifteen minute intermission. Usually when you have plays that are just talking and very character driven, they can be really boring and drawn out. This show moved along at at a really nice pace. It wasn’t boring.

Laura: John Buchanan, Jr. the son of the doctor was played by Richard Isaacs. I really liked his role in this. I thought he brought a lot of emotion to it. I liked how he reacted to Alma. He didn’t just stand there and wait for his next line. He was really listening and in touch with what she was going through and what she was saying.

Mike: The role of Alma Winemiller was played by Maggie Keele. She did a really good job. She had a complex part. She had a lot of emotions and a lot of frustration and inner turmoil that she had to show us without usually exploding. She did that really well. I enjoyed watching the transformation that she went through.

Laura: The set was good. It was a little crowded, but still everybody had room to move around on the stage. You had kind of three sets in one. You had the rectory where Alma and her parents lived. Then you had the fountain area. Then you had the next door neighbor which was the doctor and the doctor’s son in their office area. I liked how they put the scenes all together.

Mike: One of the disadvantages of the crowded set was the lighting was sometimes too focused. It made it easy for the actors to walk out of the lights. All of a sudden thy would be in a deep dark shadow. That was a little distracting. I don’t know how you would fix that other than making the stage a lot brighter, but you really didn’t need that. It had the feel of 1916’s. Another thing, at one point there was a sound effect of a gun being fired. That just wasn’t effective. It sounded like a small little pop on the door, like someone was knocking on the door. It would have been more effective for that scene, that’s on of the turning points in the play, if they could have had a cap gun go off off stage and fired that.

Laura: Summer and Smoke is playing through June 24 at the Lee Center in Alexandria, Virginia. I do recommend you see this show. I thought it was very well done.

Mike: I also recommend you see this show. All in all it was a solid performance.

Laura: Once you’ve seen this show, please feel free to leave comments on our website:

Mike: And now, on with the show.

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started ShowBizRadio in August 2005 because they love live theater. They each have both performed in and worked behind the scenes in DC area productions, as well as earned a Career Studies Certificate in Theater from Northern Virginia Community College. Mike & Laura are each members of the American Theatre Critics Association, and Mike is a member of the Online News Association.

2 Responses »

  1. Hi there. Just a correction to your listing for Summer and Smoke (in the right column) … the show is performed in Alexandria, not Falls Church.

  2. Whoops! Thanks for pointing that out, it’s been fixed.