Sterling PlayMakers Tom JonesBy Laura & Mike Clark • Apr 6th, 2008 • Category: Reviews
Listen to our review of the Sterling PlayMakers’ production of Tom Jones [MP3 4:45 2.2MB].
The Theatre at Sterling Middle School, Sterling, VA
Through April 13th
Mike: This was a fun show. It wasn’t very deep or very serious, but it was entertaining.
Laura: There was lots of slapstick comedy, a very funny and large cast, with a wide range of acting on stage. But it was a lot of fun.
Mike: Tom Jones is a comedy by David Rogers, based on Henry Fielding’s novel. Returning to his country estate from a long trip, Squire Allworthy discovers a baby in his bed! He eventually finds the mother Jenny Jones, the unmarried servant of a schoolteacher named Partridge. Allworthy generously offers to raise the child as his own. Jenny gratefully accepts the offer and leaves town without revealing the father’s name. Follow Tom from trials and tribulations all the way through true love.
Laura: The role of Partridge, who played the narrator for Tom Jones, was played by Scott Strasbaugh. He was hysterical. He has such good timing and really knows how to work a crowd. The expression on his face when he is trying to get a point across and then gets annoyed because the prop pieces are not on stage on time was just hysterical.
Mike: The title role of Tom Jones was played by Morgan Sexton. Sexton brought an innocence to Tom Jones and even though he kept getting into predicaments, he didn’t make a farce out of it. It would have been easy to make this almost into a Gilligan character where everything is happening to him without his knowledge. Even though that was happening, he still seemed to be pretty serious about it and it worked out pretty well. I did like the sword fights and the other fights that Tom Jones got into.
There was one funny bit that I thought was unintentional. There was big deal made that Tom Jones broke his arm. Then when he was sword fighting and all of a sudden jumping around the stage, fighting with Blifil (played by Thom Dyer). I thought the fight itself was pretty nicely done. The fight director was Kevin Robertson. It was funny that Tom Jones had a broken arm. Then he had a fight and he didn’t have a broken arm. Then when the fight was over he had a broken arm again. I guess that was just a funny aside. I do think the fight scenes were nicely done.
Laura: The love of Tom’s life was Sophia Western, played by Leah Nurik. Leah also did a great job. We spoke with her briefly after the show and I commented that she was the character who swooned a lot. She admitted that she falls down a lot. She was very funny. The overacting that she did was so delightful to watch. I enjoyed her performance.
Mike: This was a very large cast and we can’t talk about everybody. However, one part that stood out to me was Penny McKee who played Mrs. Waters. There was a part near the end of the second act where she played the “grieving” widow. Her expressions and the way she interacted with Tom Jones and the other people at the inn I thought were very good.
Laura: This show took place at a middle school in Sterling Virginia. You had a huge auditorium and a wide stage. Sometimes I felt the sound was off. As the actors moved around, the sound came and went a little bit. The set pieces were good. All the prop pieces were brought on and off and I thought it flowed really well. Even at the points when things were slow coming on stage, Scott Strasbaugh as Partridge was there to move everybody along and do some yelling.
Mike: The costumes were very nice, although I do think a lot of the women’s costumes look like wallpaper. However, maybe that’s how they looked in the 18th century. The costume designer was Beth Robertson.
Laura: Tom Jones is playing through April 13th. Friday and Saturdays at 8 and Sunday matinees at 2 pm at the Sterling Middle School in Sterling, Virginia. The show ran about two hours and twenty five minutes with one intermission.
Mike: We did an interview with the show’s director Paul Rubenstein. It is a video interview that is up on our website. The audio version and a transcript will be up sometime next week. We also did an interview with a member of the Sterling Playmakers Board of Directors, Kathy Bleutge. That will be posted next week as well.
Laura: We’d also like to invite you to join our free mailing list so you can stay informed with theater happenings in the DC area.
Mike: And now, on with the show.
- Partridge: Scott Strasbaugh
- Bridgette Allworthy/Lady Bellaston: Brittany Washington
- Squire Allworthy: Herb Fuller
- Deborah/Mrs. Whitefield: Sallie Willows
- Jenny Jones/Mrs. Watson: Penny McKee
- Blifil: Thom Dyer
- Tom Jones: Morgan Sexton
- Fitzpatrick/Thawckum: Greg Crowe
- Sophia Western: Leah Nurik
- Captain Blifil/Highwayman/Constable/Squire: Grant Hilderbrandt
- Miss Western: Carolyn Cameron
- Mr. Western: Jim Johnson
- Honour: Corinne Fox
- Dowling/Doctor: Bob Rosenberg
- Dowling Assistant/Servant: Scott Ruegg
- Harriet Fitzpatrick: Sara Bickler
- Susan/Nancy: Christie Swaney
- Townsperson/Servant: Patrick Turner
- Townsperson: Grant Henderson
- Townsperson/Servant: Lauren Henderson
- Townsperson: Clare Hamilton
- Townsperson: Alycia Knox
- Townsperson: Chris Sanderson
- Producer: April Bridgeman
- Assistant Producer: Jim Whitmore
- Director: Paul Rubenstein
- Technical Director: Doug Pascale
- Fight Director: Kevin Robertson
- House Stage Manager: Helen Gernhardt
- Stage Manager: Megan Collins
- Props Mistress/Set Dresser: Lisa Ingram
- House Manager: Lora Buckman
- Box Office: Ken Shall
- Costume Design: Beth Robertson
- Costume Crew: Beth Robertson, Helen Gernhardt, Cat Taylor, Jenny Wood
- Make-up/Hair Designer: Tosia Shall
- Make-up Crew: Lisa Alford, Anita Ault, Emily Collins, Megan Collins, Barb Gillen, Andi Johnson
- Photography: Dave Harback
- Lobby Photos: Gary Christian
- Publicity Team: Angla Hepola, Miriam Nastuti, Liz Smith
- Publicity, Bulk Mailing Crew: Paul Gernhardt, Joe Campanella, Jim Johmson, Andi Johnson, Lora Buckman, Sallie Willows, Greg Crowe
- Sound Design/Sound: Doug Pascale
- Lighting Design: Morgan Sexton
- Lights: Jordan Day
- Set Construction: Christie Swaney, Paul Rubenstein, Doug Pascale, Steve Smith, Morgan Sexton, Penny McKee, Helen Gernhardt, Patrick Turner, Kevin Robertson, April Bridgeman, Joe Campanella, Theresa Bender, Megan Collins, Jim Whitemore, Jordan Day
- Ushers: Lisa Alford, Georgia Bell, Kathy Bleutge, John Bleutge, Katie Buckman, Joe Campanella, Peggy Darr, Lee Dunay, Herbert Duval, Justin Fox, Laura Garofolo, Courtney Garofolo, Mark Humphrey, Sylvia Johnson
This article can be linked to as: http://washingtondc.showbizradio.com/goto/2225.
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.