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Lackluster play fails to maintain interest

When We Are Married, written by J.B. Priestley and directed by Dan Pessano, opened at the Second Space Theatre, Feb. 23.

In the past, I have always enjoyed the productions put on by this company, so I was eager to experience what I hoped would be another excellent show. Unfortunately, I left feeling a bit disappointed.

The plot centers around three wealthy, older couples — Joseph (Henry Montelongo) and Maria Helliwell (Joyce Anabo), Albert (Larry Mattox) and Annie Parker (Karan Johnson) and Herbert (Noel Adams) and Clara Soppitt (Laurie Pessano) — who are celebrating their silver wedding anniversaries.

These well-to-do individuals possess strong personalities; this was made evident through Clara’s domineering attitude toward Herbert, Albert’s complete disregard of Annie’s opinions and wishes and Joseph’s scandalous deceit toward Maria.

The six friends were married Sept. 5, 1883, by Reverend Beech. On the eve of their celebrations, a journalist and photographer from the local newspaper plan to frequent the Helliwell?s house to write a story about the couples.

This seemingly simple and enjoyable evening is thrown into an uproar by a shocking announcement made by Gerald Forbes (Tony Hamby), a young man who is secretly courting Nancy Holmes (Katie Lewis), the Helliwell?s live-in niece.

Forbes tells the men that he ran into Beech during a recent trip to Africa, and Beech confessed that he was not officially ordained as a reverend when he joined the three couples in holy matrimony, thus they have never really been married.

A botched attempt to keep the matter hushed up to avoid scandal makes for a stressful evening of arguments and dissension amongst the sextuplet, as feelings kept hidden over the years finally come to light.

Although the actors did a good job with the material they were given, the script and overall storyline failed to keep my interest. This was intended to be a comedy, although the rest of the audience seemed to respond well to the bits of humor incorporated throughout the show, I was personally not very amused.

Perhaps this plot appeals more to an older audience who can relate more to the couples? troubles and experiences, but as a young person I was not very diverted by the follies and foibles of these six friends.

Of the six main characters, the Soppitt?s relationship was the most interesting for me to observe, as it underwent the most development. Pessano successfully conveyed an irritating, controlling, judgmental wife, and I was pleased when Adams overcame his passive nature and finally stood up to her, gaining her respect.

In addition, there were certain aspects of the story that did not seem to be resolved, such as Forbes and Holmes? relationship. These young people never seemed to reveal their love to Holmes? uncle, nor did they really grow as characters, so I was a bit confused as to how their part of this show ended.

The set and costumes remained the same throughout the performance, as the entire show took place in the Helliwell?s living room. Keeping true to the time, the furniture was of the scarlet and mahogany color scheme. The costumes, dresses and suits complete with coattails and pocket watches, accentuated the feeling of the early twentieth century setting.

Performances of When We Are Married will continue through April 15, Thursdays at 7:30 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., and Sunday matinee at 2 p.m. Tickets are $16 general admission and $15 for students and seniors. For tickets, visit the Good Company Players website.

For more drama reviews, read the Feb. 27 article, Clovis North amazes with comedic play.

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