Sunday, May 2, 2010

Palm Beach Dramaworks: Three Tall Women (4 reviews)

Palm Beach Dramaworks opened its production of Edward Albee's Three Tall Women on April 23, 2010.
An elderly woman reflects on her youth, marriage, and estrangement from her gay son with a mixture of satisfaction and regret, in this Pulitzer prize winning play that explores the challenges of living and dying.
J. Barry Lewis directed a cast that included Beth Dixon, Angie Radosh, Geneva Rae, and Chris Marks.

Brandon K. Thorp reviewed for the Broward/Palm Beach New Times:
There is something ennobling about really great acting. Adequate acting is the assumption of a disguise, but great acting illuminates how the raw stuff of humanity can be made ugly or beautiful, saintly or demonic. It may, if an actor desires, invite sympathy for a creature whose course through life has twisted or deformed its spirit into otherwise incomprehensible shapes. Great acting may make us like the unlikable or even love the unlovable.

Beth Dixon accomplishes this very thing in Three Tall Women...
Radosh wears a hard-won knowledge on her face — a knowledge that life is messy and that its trials are more easily dispatched with humor and stoicism than pieties or angst.
Mary Damiano reviewed for
That Palm Beach Dramaworks has mounted a sumptuous production of Three Tall Women is no surprise. The theatre has built its reputation on gorgeous productions of classic plays. The costume design by Brian O’Keefe is both age and era-appropriate. Michael Amico’s beautifully-appointed French Provincial bedroom screams old money. Ron Burns’ lighting is evocative.

Director J. Barry Lewis has put together a powerhouse cast more than up to the task of making Albee’s conversational rhythms sing. Rae is all business in the first act, but seamlessly morphs into a wide-eyed innocent in the second act. Radosh imbues her character in both acts with a been-there, done-that sensibility—one arched eyebrow, one Cheshire Cat grin from Radosh speaks volumes. She’s like the aunt everyone should have—well-moneyed, well-traveled, and the only person you’ll actually believe when she tells you the way the world really works. Dixon has the most difficult transition to make from the first to the second act, from dying old woman to spry senior, and she delivers a nuanced, powerful performance. Watching these women on stage is like watching a theatre master class in acting.

Three Tall Women the perfect melding of a playwright and a theatre, both at the top of their games. Don’t miss it
Jan Sjostrom reviewed for the Palm Beach Daily News:
The Pulitzer Prize-winning play is being given a unflinching production under the guidance of resident director J. Barry Lewis...
The cast of Beth Dixon as A, Angie Radosh as B and Geneva Rae as C perform with seemingly effortless harmony. They take Albee’s sharp, soul-baring dialogue firmly in hand and make it sound natural as breathing.
Michael Amico’s fussy, Frenchified set is a perfect portrayal of fading gentility. Brian O’Keefe’s second-act costumes elegantly express the three-in-one main character.

Hap Erstein reviewed for The Palm Beach Post:
...a crisp, powerfully performed production at Palm Beach Dramaworks...
Under the laser-sharp direction of J. Barry Lewis, you are not likely to see as piercing yet cool-toned a production all year in South Florida.
Dixon certainly does nothing to soften the old woman. Although frail and fading, the character still manages to dominate the conversation and the actress does the same to the production.
As the nurse, Radosh is nimbly caught between two poles, trying to soothe the old woman and shooting disapproving looks at the young girl. Rae has a bit too much starch early on, but she comes on strong in the second act. Also in the cast is Chris Marks as a silent preppy young man, presumably a stand-in for Albee, but a thankless assignment.
While Three Tall Women is no Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, it is full of the wisdom of age, with an emotional range from bitterness to acceptance. It deserves its place on Albee’s top shelf, and on Dramaworks’.
Three Tall Women plays at Palm Beach Dramaworks through June 13, 2010.

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