KatPa Productions MAEBy Laura & Mike Clark • Sep 23rd, 2010 • Category: Reviews
Flashpoint-Black Box Theater, Washington DC
Through October 2nd
2:15 with one intermission
Reviewed September 18th, 2010
Mae is the story of Mae West, the legendary “bad girl” who shook up Las Vegas, New York and Hollywood with her Vaudeville songs and dance routines. This original work by playwright Kathryn O’Sullivan takes a look at the life of Mae West through the eyes of a Mae West impersonator (Mr. Mae West) who gets to see more of her human side as she encourages him to improve his act. I’d guess if you asked the younger crowd about Mae West, you’d get no response, despite Mae West being the Paris Hilton of her day.
Rachel Hardin played the star of the show Mae West. She kept the walk and talk faithfully throughout the evening. Hardin played Mae with a distance that did not allow her to get hurt often, although she seemed to treat Mr. Mae as a kid brother. Hardin’s mannerisms and speech patterns were consistent and convincing, presenting Mae as the sex symbol she was. Mr. Mae West was played by Matthew G. Myers. Myers had the walk down pretty handily. His attempt at the Mae West accent did not go over too well and Myers kept that to a minimum. He seemed to do a lot of standing around and listening to Mae, although he grew more excited over time as he learned more about Mae from Mae. It seemed he was trying to absorb everything he could to improve his act. Mae’s parents Matilda and Jack West (played by Amy Thompson and Philip Hylton) seemed a bit stiff on stage, but that fit perfectly into the stereotype of a star performing trying to escape her strict family upbringing. Mae’s sister Beverly was played by Cate Brewster. It was interesting watching their relationship get strained and grow clsoer over time.
The Mead Theatre Lab is a black box theater which Saturday night had about 40 people and felt packed. The stage was narrow, but deep. The set never changed and there seemed to be adequate room for costume changes off stage. Sylvia Scarratt’s costumes were attractive. Mr. Mae West and Mae West stayed in pretty much the same outfit for the entire show. Pianist Danielle Hahn provided underscoring and accompanied Hardin and Myers’ songs.
There were a few scenes that it was dfficult to tell the scene’s time period. Mae West didn’t age, other than when we saw Mae’s first performance as Baby Mae, portrayed by Zophia Pryzby. Other than some poetic license taken in spots with the life of Mare West, this was an entertaining introduction to the life of Mae West.
Photos by Charlie Scarratt.
- Beverly West, Mrs. Chuck: Cate Brewer
- Stan Millitt, M.C. Stagehand, Radio Reporter: Robert Bromley
- Etta, “Sex” actor, Hollywood Reporter, Camera operator: Lacey Anne Garcia
- Mae West: Rachel Hardin
- Jack West, Fr. Quigley, Capt. Shaughnessy, Bailiff, Fr. Cantwell: Phillip Hylton
- Hal, Chuck, Frank Wallace, Sri Deva Ram Sukul, Archie Mayo, Wesley Ruggles: David Kozisek
- Mr. Mae West: Matthew G. Meyers
- Musclemann Angel, Honeymoon Glide Man, New York City Cop, Hollywood Reporter, Boom Operator, Vegas Muscleman: Shannon Perkins Jr.
- Baby Mae, Paper Boy: Zophia Pryzby
- Joe, Freddie, Lou, Honeymoon Glide Man, Barry O’Neil, Hollywood Reportr, Jimmy,Joseph Breen, Groucho Judge: Charlie Retzlaff
- Matilda West: Amy Thompson
- Musclemann Angel, James Timony, Honeymoon Glide Man, New York City Cop, Paul Novak, Vegas Muscleman: Johnno Wilson
- Playwright: Kathryn O’Sullivan
- Director: Paul Awad
- Lighting Designer: Marianne Meadows
- Costume Designer: Sylvia Scarratt
- Assistant Director: Eden Brown
- Stage Manager: Christi Liongson
- Pianist: Danielle DeSwert Hahn
- Rehearsal Pianist: Dana Nichole Scott
- Music Director: Rachel Hardin
- Choreography: Rachel Hardin, Kathryn O’Sullivan
- Light Board Operator: Thomas Holman
Disclaimer: KatPa Productions provided two complimentary media tickets to ShowBizRadio for this review. KatPa Productions also purchased advertising on the ShowBizRadio web site, and Mike took classes with the playwright at NVCC several years ago.
This article can be linked to as: http://washingtondc.showbizradio.com/goto/5560.
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.