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Theater Info for the Washington DC region

Chevy Chase Players Kind Lady

By • May 6th, 2008 • Category: Reviews

Listen to our review of the Chevy Chase Players’ production of Kind Lady [MP3 8:23 3.8MB].

Kind Lady
Chevy Chase Players
Chevy Chase Community Center, Washington DC
$15/$13 Students and Seniors
Through May 17th

Laura: This is the ShowBizRadio review of Kind Lady, performed by Chevy Chase Players in Washington DC. We saw the performance on Saturday evening May 3, 2008.

Mike: Kind Lady is a play by Edward Chodorov, adapted from the story by Hugh Walpole. A dignified, aristocratic woman living quietly in her London home is gradually surrounded by diabolically clever crooks who ingeniously alienate her family and friends and nearly convinces them that she is hopelessly insane. It looks as though the kind lady is doomed to lose her property and her sanity, but a supreme effort of courage and skill conveys the true situation to the outside world.

Ms. Harries looking over some of Henry Abbott's art.Ms. Harries looking over some of Henry Abbott’s “art.”

Laura: This show was ok for the most part. There were some writing issues that led to some directing choices that we did not agree with. The biggest problem I had with the show was I could not hear what was being said. The actors were facing upstage from us and the community center where this show took place had a lot of places for the sound to get trapped and disappear. Therefore I had a hard time hearing the show.

Mike: I did have a good time with this show. There were some writing issues that they actors had no control over. This did hurt the show. Like Laura said the sound (or lack thereof) was a huge distraction to the production. I really liked the costumes in this show and and the set was nicely done. The set dressing and the artwork on the walls was very appropriate. If you watch the artwork on the walls you will get a feel for how long the crooks have been in Miss Herries’ house.

Mike: Unfortunately for this review, we are going to have to give a lot of the plot away. If you are planning to see the show, go see the show and then come back and read our review.

The “kind lady” of the title was Miss Herries, played by Patricia Kratzer. She was a dear, kind lady who chose at Christmas to be kind to a poor beggar man out in front of her home. She invited him in to have tea and some food. She was quite able to carry on conversations with family and friends. She was even kind to the servants. She was just a sweet little old lady. But by the middle and end of the show she had been turned around and mentally abused. The befuddlement she played very nicely. I liked when she was trying to convince people coming into the home that she was not crazy. It is a conversation I can see having and it would be terrifying to us that we might lose our minds. Having people pat us on the hand and say it’s OK. I think that whole set of scenes was very nicely done.

Laura: Another person I did not like (which had nothing to do with his character, I thought his acting was really good) was Henry Abbot, played by Michael Fisher. He came into the house and really ingratiated himself . But you could see when she left the room to go get him something that the evil smirk on his face gave me the creeps. Later he brought in a few of his cronies including Mr. and Mrs. Edwards (played by John Barclay Burns and Joan Roseboom). They did a good job and were just as dirty and seedy and evil. I just did not like them.

Ms. Harries being examined by the helpful house guests.Ms. Harries being examined by the “helpful” house guests.

Mike: I did enjoy Miss Herries’s maid, Rose, played by Laura Aylward. I think she did a nice job especially when she was trying to leave Miss Herries and Miss Herries talked her into staying. Then Henry Abbot appeared and talked her into leaving. It was a nice set of scenes and she had a nice range of emotions from not telling Miss Herries why she was leaving and her hopefulness. up through her being terrified and leaving. Much of the action in the show took place off stage. You never saw any of the physical abuse happen. It was a lot of talking heads. Therefore the actors had to use everything they had in their expressions and their voices to get across how slimy they were.

Laura: There was one violent scene. It happened between Henry and Ada played by Justine Underhill. Henry slapped her when she came downstairs. I liked the scene because it built up the suspense in thinking that they could go so far as to kill Miss Herries.

Mike: However most of the “action” did not happen on stage. A lot of the action was very subtle. For example, the Doctor (played by James Robertson) implied that he was going to murder Rose, but we never see it happen. We also never see Rose again either. It is all left up to your imagination as to her fate.

Laura: Lucy Weston, the friend of Miss Herries, was played by Kathryn Johnston. In the play there was a news story brought to Henry Abbot from Mr. Edwards that Lucy had been killed. It left it open to interpretation whether she was murdered by a friend of Henry’s or did she die in a plane crash as the paper said. It left it wide open.

Mike: One of the problems with this show was the writing. The prologue of the show had Mrs. Herries and Mr. Foster, a banker. They have a very short scene together where it is implied that the situation has already been resolved so that the entire play is a flashback where we learn what has happened to Mrs. Herries. Late in the show it is revealed that it is not over yet. I did not like that flashback device because it makes you think everything is going to work out OK. I felt a little bit fooled and distracted throughout because I knew it was going to work out OK. When the real ending of the show happened it was not a surprise.

Laura: I was a little disappointed in the ending. I felt that even though it ended it left it open enough that there could be a sequel to the show.

Mike: I think the end of the show happened a little too quickly. It was too pat. Miss Herries did have to show a lot of strength, but it did not explain where it came from. There were characters that came and then just disappeared. For example Mrs. Herries’s niece Phyllis (Katie Foster) and her husband Peter (Aidan Hughes) who was an American. They came in and it felt like Peter was going to figure out what was going on. Then he just kind of disappeared. It made me wonder if the script had been edited or if it was a flaw in the script.

Laura: The set for Kind Lady took place in in Mrs. Herries’ living room. You had a door that went into the kitchen and then a door that led to the outside. The Set Designer was John Vandegriff. The set was nice. One interesting thing was that as the play progressed the paintings on the wall changed as well. I thought that was an interesting touch.

Mike: The costumes for the show were very nicely done. Costume Designer was Richard Battistelli. I think all of the costume choices worked really well. Miss Herries’s dresses were very much a part of her personality. Henry Abbot’s shoes were a big part of the show. They were just scuffed and worn enough to look very good. I liked that the maid and the servants fit into a traditional look as befit their station. Yet at the same time the two bad guys a part of the serving staff did not look right. It was as if they were faking it. It all worked out really well.

Laura: Kind Lady was an hour and fifty minutes with two intermissions and two pauses. It is playing through Saturday, May 17th. Fridays at 8, Saturdays at 7:30, at the Chevy Chase Community Center in Washington DC.

Mike: If you’ve seen the show, we’d like to hear your thoughts on it. Simply leave a comment here at ShowBizRadio.net. We would also like to invite you to join our free mailing list.

Laura: And now, on with the show.

Cast

  • Mr. Foster: Greg Mangiapane
  • Servant: Grace Hagerty
  • Mary Herries: Patricia Kratzer
  • Lucy Weston: Kathryn Johnston
  • Rose: Laura Aylward
  • Phyllis Glenning: Katie Foster
  • Peter Santard: Aidan Hughes
  • Henry Abbot: Michael Fisher
  • Ada: Justine Underhill
  • Doctor: James Robertson
  • Mr. Edwards: John Barclay Burns
  • Mrs. Edwards: Joan Roseboom
  • Aggie Edwards: Grace Hagerty:
  • Gustav Rosenberg: Frank O’Donnell

Crew

  • Producer: Brenda Shaw
  • Director: Pauline Griller-Mitchell
  • Assistant Director: Laura Aylward
  • Stage Manager: Kim Randolph
  • Stage Crew: Laura Aylward, Frank O’Donnell, Justine Underline, Grace Hagerty
  • Set Dressing/Props: Joan Roseboom, Pauline Griller-Mitchell, Curry Hagerty, Mary Rigney, Kim Randolph
  • Set Designer: John Vandergriff
  • Costume Designer: Richard “Batt” Battistelli
  • Make Up & Hair Consultant: Maggie Skekel-Sledge
  • Lighting Designer: Jim Robertson
  • Set Construction Chief: John Vandegriff
  • Set Construction/Painting Crew: Kim Randolph, Neil Edgel, Jr., Charlie Gallagher, Jim Robertson, Greg Mangiapane, High Pettigrew, Michael Fisher and the Cast
  • Sound Design: Kevin Garrett
  • Sound Operations: Neil Edgell
  • Light Operations: Kim Randolph
  • Videographer: Michael Gilmore
  • Program: Neil Edgell
  • Photography/Website Manager: Neill Edgell
  • Box Office/Hospitality/House Managers: Joanne Young-Chewning, Helen Templin, Mike Binder, Mary Anne Peterson, Stephen Peterson, John Vandegriff, Brenda Shaw, Brian Nelson, Claudia Bocock, Harriett Belenker, Jerry Belenker, Clara Diehl, Marjorie Townsend
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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.

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