Theater Info for the Washington DC region

Twin Beach Players Heartstrings: A Valentine Fable

By • Feb 17th, 2008 • Category: Reviews

Listen to our review of the Twin Beach Players’ production of Heartstrings: A Valentine Fable [MP3 4:02 2.9MB].

Heartstrings: A Valentine Fable
Twin Beach Players
Union Church Education Building, North Beach, MD
$15 Adults, $10 Seniors, Students and Members
Through Feb. 23rd

Laura: This is the review of Heartstrings: A Valentine Fable, performed by the Twin Beach Players, in North Beach, Maryland. Mike and I saw the performance on Saturday evening, February 16, 2008.

Mike: This was an ok show. The first act was made up of three different women sharing stories about their love lives and a secret admirer, and how that impacted their lives. The second act is one woman telling her love story. So, it was a little bit jumpy, the first act went a little bit long. The performances themselves were pretty good though.

Laura: Yes, I thought the performers did well. The first act did go a little bit long, I was wondering when it was going to wrap up because every time I thought it was time for intermission, another actor’s light would come up, so I thought it went a little bit long. But I liked the second act because it did wrap it all up.

Mike: Heartstrings: A Valentine Fable is a play by Phillip Grace. Three women, Anna, Elizabeth and Helen share their love stories by a series of monologues. In the second act, Barbara tells her love story as a monologue, explaining her relationship with the other three women.

Laura: The first woman we met was Anna, played by Regan Cashman. She had the hard luck story, she went through a lot of men in her life. Finally, she found the one that she thought was Mr. Right, and he turned out to be Mr. Not-So-Right. I liked her Southern accent, she kept it throughout the performance. She changed, I could see the change in her as the play progressed, her spunkiness came through.

Mike: Elizabeth, played by Clare O’Shea, was a sad woman, in that she retreated to the bottle in order to deal with her husband’s affairs and infidelities. Whenever she seemed to present a strong front, and gather some strength to fix her life, she would retreat back to the bottle. It was pretty effective. Some of her scenes went a little bit long; the drunkenness was wearing a little bit by the end. She did interact with the audience, for example when someone entered the theater late. She did ok with that.

Laura: The third woman, Helen, was played by Joanne McDonald. She was the most composed of the three women. She took things in stride but she was quite nervous when she started getting the valentines, and was upset by them, wasn’t quite sure what was going on because they messed up the flow of life, and how everything went along naturally. The valentines really threw her off.

Mike: These three women were all in the first act, and they would give a small snippet through their monologue of their life. and then lights would go down on them and come up on another of the ladies. And that continued throughout the first act. None of the ladies talked to each directly, they each were giving monologues. I think that was a good device, it was little boring though, and that’s a problem with the play itself, not much they could be done about that. I’m wondering if it would have been more interesting if these three women could’ve been at a reunion together, or a girl’s weekend and they’re sharing their stories with each other. That might have been a little more interesting, and a little more dynamic.

Laura: The second act was much shorter, it was one woman giving a monologue tying in the reason behind the valentines and the lives of the other women. Barbara was played by Marianne Rude. She was very matter of fact. She got quite emotional toward the end which I thought was nicely done, a nice contrast to the other women.

Mike: We really can’t give too much plot away because a lot of the power of this show is in the stories that unfold from each of the women.

Mike: The show lasted two hours, twenty minute with one intermission. It’s playing for one more weekend, Friday the 22nd at 8, and Saturday the 23rd at 7, at the Union Church Education Building in North Beach, Maryland.

Laura: And now, on with the show.


  • Anna: Regan Cashman
  • Elizabeth: Clare O’Shea
  • Helen: Joanne McDonald
  • Barbara: Marianne Rude


  • Producer: Janine Naus
  • Director: Dianne Belanger
  • Stage/Prop Manager: Dylan Elliott
  • House Manager: Kelly Rodgers-Elliott
  • Publicity: Janine Naus
  • Program Design: Dianne Belanger and Janine Naus
  • Lighting Designer: Danny Beach
  • Sound Designer: Dylan Elliott
  • Set Construction: Joe Belanger
  • Set and Costumer Design: The Cast
Tagged as:

This article can be linked to as:

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.

One Response »

  1. Good review. The “Black Box Theater” where this is presented is an intimate venue, ideal for this type of show — personal, thoughtful, introspective, tugging at those “Heatrstrings.” There were really good snacks available at intermission, maybe not a major consideration for attending, but definitely a plus. Free, nearby parking as well. Twin Beach Players is well worth supporting, on so many levels! Celebrating its 10th anniversary year, they not only put on formal productions, but are very involved in promoting theater in the community. Joanne McDonald from “Heartstrings” is a coordinator for the annual contest for school-aged play authors, with the top prize being a full production of the winning script by experienced members; a thrill for any playwright!