McLean Community Players Frost/NixonBy Laura Clark • Sep 26th, 2010 • Category: Reviews
McLean Community Players
Alden Theatre, McLean, VA
Through October 2nd
$15/$13 Seniors and Students
Reviewed September 19, 2010
Frost/Nixon is a historical play about a series of interviews between David Frost and Richard Nixon in 1977. During the interviews Frost gets Nixon to admit he was wrong and to “apologize” to the people of America. In an interesting twist the play is narrated from the point of view of a man hired to do background research on Nixon. His name is James Reston, Jr. It is through his eyes that Nixon’s wrongdoing and attempted cover up are revealed.
Richard M. Nixon was played by Bob Sams. Sams was calm, cool and collected throughout the evening until the “gotcha” happened. Then Sams gave a believable performance of falling apart. His countenance fell, his shoulders tensed and his eyes said “Oh crud what else do they know?” Sitting opposite him was Sir David Frost played by Derek Bradley. Bradley was younger and much more a free spirit. As Frost, Bradley was not in control most of the time. During his interviews Sams was clearly the leader until the end. You could see Frost’s face light up when he realized he had the Former President against a wall at that point the tide turned and Frost took the lead.
As the Narrator James Reston Jr was played by Jesse Baskin. He gave a commanding performance. His voice was strong and his story was compelling in that you saw a human side to the president that was not there before.
The costumes and props were all very true to the 1970s. Costume Designer was Susan Boyd and Set Dressing were Terry Yates and Dinnie Whitson.
There were some interesting lighting choices during the afternoon that may have detracted some from the mood of the show. At one point the lights were on Frost and Nixon and all the other actors were basically in darkness, but were still acting. So your focus was kind of split between the two. Then at the end of the performance the lights went out while the cast was reaching out to thank the lighting crew. They deserve credit, too.
Overall an interesting historical piece that was well acted.
When I was first approached to direct Frost/Nixon I was very excited. I had never had the opportunity to direct a “historical” play before. As I became more involved in researching the background of this play, I learned that while Frost/Nixon focuses on the series of televised interviews that former US President Richard Nixon granted David Frost in 1977, it is not totally historically accurate. For example, the “drunk dial” phone call that Nixon makes to Frost did not happen. That said, it is still a fabulous play that shows us a human side of these famous, historical people. I think it is important to look at all sides of a person to understand fully a person’s motivations and to make sense of the seemingly senseless. I hope that this play will encourage you to delve further into the historic events on which Frost/Nixon is based. Enjoy the show!
Photos by Traci J. Brooks
- Richard M. Nixon: Bob Sams
- Photographer: Teri Lee Edwards
- Studio Manager, Oval Office: Mario Font
- Technician: Steve Izant
- James Reston, Jr.: Jesse Baskin
- Makeup Technician: Jessica Bates
- David Frost: Derek Bradley
- Jack Brennan: Marshall Henderson
- Evonne Goolagong: Paula Rich
- John Birt: Alex Avila
- Manolo Sanchez: Mario Font
- Swifty Lazar: Mario Font
- Caroline Cushing: Paula Rich
- Stewardess: Jessica Bates
- Bob Zelnick: Stephen T. Wheeler
- Mike Wallace: Steve Izant
- Studio Manager, Monarch Bay: Steve Izant
- Waitress: Teri Lee Edwards
- Director: Zina Bleck
- Producers: Cathy & George Farnsworth
- Stage Manager: Douglas F. Yriart
- Assistant Stage Manager: Shayne Gardner
- Deck Manager: Annie O’Neill
- Set Design: John Downing
- Technical Director: Bill Glikbarg
- Set Dressing: Terry Yates, Dinnie Whitson
- Lighting Design: Bob Zeigler
- Master Electrician: Chris Hardy
- Master Carpenter: George Farnsworth
- Assisted by: Bill Glikbarg, David Johnson, Dick La Porte, Linda and Brent Stone, Justin Weyant, Bob Zeigler
- Costume Design: Susan Boyd
- Makeup Design: Paul Mitchell, The School
- Sound Operators: Anna Hawkins, Zack Sanders
- Backstage Running Crew: Emily Besuden, Tula Pendergrast, Mary Renschler
- Publicity: Mike Scott, Tula Pendergrast, Cathy Farnsworth, Columba Brumby, Jennifer Levy
- Photographer: Traci J. Brooks
- House Manager: Columba Brumby
- Webmaster, Playbill: George Farnsworth
Disclaimer: McLean Community Players provided two complimentary media tickets to ShowBizRadio for this review.
This article can be linked to as: http://washingtondc.showbizradio.com/goto/5614.
Laura Clark started ShowBizRadio in August 2005. Laura has performed in local productions and worked back stage. She will be stage managing The Taming of the Shrew, to be performed by Castaways Repertory Theatre in January 2012. She earned a Career Studies Certificate in Theater from Northern Virginia Community College. Laura is a member of the American Theatre Critics Association.