Visit Mr. Green with Silver Spring StageBy Laura & Mike Clark • Jan 24th, 2007 • Category: Reviews
Listen to our review of Silver Spring Stage’s production of Visiting Mr. Green [MP3 5:18 1.5MB].
Mike: Visiting Mr. Green is a play written by Jeff Baron. It’s the story of two men who are forced together by the court system. The younger man, Ross Gardiner, was almost involved in a car accident with Mr. Green. His punishment by the court was to spend six months once a week with Mr. Green and do errands and things for him. Ross goes to Mr. Green’s house and an unlikely friendship builds over time.
Laura: I really liked the pace of the show. The director was Ed Starr. He worked well with Ross and Mr. Green to get the timing down just really perfectly. I enjoyed watching the two of them interact. The dialogue was really smooth. They seemed quite comfortable with each other. I enjoyed this show very much.
Mike: When I first heard the description for Visiting Mr. Green, I was a little scared. It reminded me a lot of Tuesdays with Morrie, a show we reviewed back in November 2005. Tuesdays with Morrie is the story of Mitch Albom. He comes to visit his former college professor and learns more about life through the process of his professor dying. This show I was kind of expecting the same thing. It was close. A younger man visiting an older man, but they were strangers. They had to build a friendship from scratch. That did happen over the course of the show. There were a few twists and turns, a couple of which Laura and I both guessed would happen beforehand. And a couple that we guessed wrong. The basic plot was pretty predictable. Both the performers did a really good job. The set was really good. This show definitely deserves your coming to see it. It was a fairly small audience on Saturday night which was a shame. I liked the general theme of the show of helping others and investing in other people, not necessarily in things.
Laura: The role of Mr. Green was played by Itzy Friedman. Mr. Green was 86 years old. He definitely had the shuffling around, wore his slippers a lot of the time. He was kind of a cranky older man. There were some scenes where he did show his age. For example his confusion over the telephone and never throwing anything away. But I really enjoyed how he reacted to Ross Gardiner. At first he was not really excited about having this kid come over once a week and bring him food and fix things and stuff like that. As time went on he came to understand him and accept him and a real friendship developed. I liked watching that friendship develop on the stage.
Mike: Ross Gardiner was played by Cristopher Tully. I liked his performance over all. I do think he was a little too willing to be at Mr. Green’s home. He did try a few times not to stay there, try to get around the court’s order. He was helpful, was willing to do whatever that Mr. Green needed. Part of that could be that he just felt like he needed a father, maybe this man could be his father. There was a whole set of scenes near the end of the show where they talked about his family relationships. Mr. Green paid attention and let him talk. Each of the men did judge each other at times, but they did somehow get to an equilibrium about that and decide to accept each other.
Laura: I liked the set. I liked how everything was arranged. This was an apartment in New York City so you had living room area with a doorway off to the bedroom. You had a kitchen area with door that went to the outside of the apartment. I liked the props that were brought on and off. They probably had a ton of soup backstage as the main prop that was brought on. I really liked how everything was set up.
Mike: During one scene there was a rain storm and during the lightning you could see out the window. The attention that was made to the things outside the window was really nice. You actually saw another apartment building, a tree. I think I saw a lightning bolt although that could just be power of suggestion. A lot of work was done on that set. It’s a funny shaped stage and I think they used their space very effectively.
Laura: The set designer was Tom Smith. The scenic artist was Roger McDonald. The lighting designer was Jim Robertson. They really did a good job.
Mike: Before the show started I was looking at the set and I asked Laura, “What year do you think that refrigerator is?” In the playbill it doesn’t give a year for when the show takes place. I was thinking 50’s or 60’s. Laura said 60’s/70’s. The fridge really fit in well with the concept of this is the apartment that Mr. Green had lived in forever.
Laura: Visiting Mr. Green is playing through February 4th. Fridays and Saturdays at 8 and Sundays at 2 PM. I do encourage you to go see this show. I thought it was really well acted and I think you’ll really enjoy it.
Mike: I also encourage you to go see this how. I think you’ll find parts of it a little schmaltzy, a little predictable, but all in all it was a pretty good show.
Laura: And now, on with the show.
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Laura & Mike Clark 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.