Thursday, October 24, 2019

Lamb’s “Ring Around The Moon”: An Actors Paradise

Where DOES Brian Mackey get all his energy? Will someone please lead me to that place so I can at least keep up with him?

Next, how does he live in this high energy zone for over two hours capturing both the aristocratic ‘bon vivant’ Hugo who has a way with women, and his identical twin and polar opposite brother Frederic, who is so shy he almost stutters when speaking, and does not have a way?

Both share the same stage at the same time…well almost but not quite in Lamb’s Players Theatre current production of Christopher Fry’s over the top farce that over scrutinizes the rich upper class in  “Ring Around The Moon” playing through Nov. 17th?
Brian Mackey and Rachael VanWormer
Christopher Fry’s adaptation of Jean Anouilh’s  “L’Invitation au Chateau” or “Invitation To The Castle” or “A Charade With Music” has been updated from 1912 to 1930. The setting by Mike Buckley is a beautifully designed large Chateau taking up much of the back of the stage. A party is in the offing. 

The action takes place in the winter garden outside the ballroom for a gathering of an annual soiree, which is always held in the spring when romance is in the air, the moon is full, and better yet has a ring around it to complete the picture. At the Chateau or Big House, if you will, are an assortment of guests, hangers on and household help.

David McBean is the butler Joshua with his usual stylized looks. Cynthia Gerber is Geraldine Capulet a somewhat scatterbrained helper to Madame the Dowager Countess, Madame Desmortes (the elegant and delicious Deborah Gilmour Smyth). She in a is in a wheelchair and depends Capulet to get her around. Madam claims the twins Hugo and Frederic and Lady India as her nephews and niece.
Donny Gersonde and Siri Hafso
Guests Diana Messerschmann (Rachael VanWormer) is Hugo’s fiancée; Patrice (Donny Gersonde) is Messerschmann’s male secretary and Lady India (Siri Hafso), his mistress. Both great dancers, they glide rather than stroll or walk.

Wealthy businessman Messerschmann (a powerhouse Manny Fernandes) and a character called Romainville (John Rosen) who studies butterflies, and is somehow involved with Messerschmann are two odd balls making appearances and then disappearing for a bit.

They add another layer of mishegas to this all too zany but well calculated tale. One wants to get rid of all his money and be poor again, but alas, money follows him around; the other is intrigued with the dancer Isabelle (Joy Yvonne Jones) although he looks like a madman with a butterfly net.
Manny Fernandes and Joy Yvonne Jones
Of special interest is the gorgeous, but poor, alas (read low class) dancer Isabelle (Joy Yvonne Jones). Her being there is two fold: at the outset, Hugo wants to dress her to the nines so she will be attractive enough to snatch his brother’s eye away from his Diana, and cast his star on  on Isabella, and she will be able to provide entertainment for the guests.

The frosting on the cake is Isabell’s mother (Yolanda Marie Franklin), who unbeknownst to all is a long lost friend of Capulet.
Deborah Gilmour Smyth, Cynthia Gerber and Yolanda Marie Franklin
Ms. Franklin, long missed from our stages is a welcome sight bringing with her her one of a kind comedic au naturale but over the top skills as someone who knows exactly what she is doing. Watch the twinkle in her eyes.

Twins Hugo and Frederic, the evil and good sides of humanity are impossible to tell apart from the exterior. Seriously? The Smyth’s have made it so that Hugo has the appearance of just showing up when Fredric exits. It looks easy to the untrained eye, but try it for two hours.

Deborah Gilmour Smyth and Cynthia Gerber
Between mistaken identities, lost souls, impersonators, loves labors lost and love labors found, the love of money vs. the disavowment of money and a sweet, if not cagey grandmother this moon imight be headed for a trip behind the clouds. Although a wonderful platform for a gifted actor as Mackey, it's pretty much running out of steam for main stay companies.  

Under Deborah Gilmour Smyth and hubby Robert co-directing and with eye for timing and surprise, “Ring” is just one big economic lesson on how we treat each other on a class based platform. In that category we get a failing grade.

It’s also a great idea for Lamb’s to show off and possibly give its team of performers who do wonderful work throughout the year, another outing before year’s end.
Siri Hafso and Donny Gersondsone
It’s not the best play this theatre has mounted. It’s outdated in its appeal to capture the imaginations of the young and restless, but it is fun for those willing to sit through, almost two hours +, of outstanding performances by the talented Brian Mackey, Joy Yvonne Jones and Deborah Gilmour Smyth and Ms Franklin.

Credit Jeanne Reith for the elegant costumes, Nathan Peirson the lighting, Donny Gersonede, Deborah Gilmour Smyth and Siri Hafso, choreograph. Jordan Miller is fight choreographer and Angela Chatelean Avila is the beautiful violin playing Chanteuse.

 Francis Polene, Django Reinhardt, Jacob Gade, Aastor Piazzolla, Gerando Rodreguez, Harry Tierey, Louigui/Piaf, and Jean Lenior for the “Ring Around The Moon” Incidental Music.  
Brian Mackey, Joy Yvonne Jones, John Rosen and Deborah Gilmour Smyth
If you are looking for an escape from the pseudo realities that lie beyond, look no further than then the high class realities that lie within at Lamb’s Players “Ring Around The Moon”.

So Brian. The energy thing?

See you at the theatre.
Dates: Through Nov.17th
Organization: Lamb’s Players Theatre
Phone: 619-437-6000
Production Type: Farce/Parody
Where: 1142 Orange Ave, Coronado, 92117
Ticket Prices: Start at $28.00
Photo: Ken Jacques

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