A recipe for fun: take 3 love stories, 1 spy or more, add in some twists and turns, blend in 7 very competent actors playing 18 parts, and 4 harried stage hands lugging lots of furniture. Sprinkle liberally with laughs and you have Playcrafters production of local playwright Michael Hollinger’s RED HERRING.
It’s 1952 and the McCarthy hearings are in session. Sen. McCarthy’s daughter Lynn, well played by Rachel Daly, is getting engaged to James Appel, welcome newcomer Brian Maher. The trouble is James is a spy. At the same time Maggie, a commanding performance by Mary Ann Brosnam, a driven lady detective is trying to solve a murder and a seven year old case. Her intended, G-man Frank Keller, played by good-looking, solid actor Steve Michaels, is honing in on the spy or spies.
The older comedic couple Florence Kravitz and Andrei Borchevsky played by Bev Smith and Dennis Christoforetti, both competent and very effective performers, was mixed up in all this up to their necks. Both handled accents and characterizations with aplomb and good humor. Add in Ken Uller doing dual duty as the Bartender and Stage Manager and you have a talented cast who enjoy the performance and make the audience do likewise.
Special kudos, too, for very well-etched performances of bit parts by Ms. Daly as a clerk, Mr. Michaels as a priest, Mr. Christoforetti as Herbert Van Nostrand and Ms. Smith as Mrs Van Nostrand. They added much to the merriment.
Director Jim Balcerek, assisted by Erin Ryan, kept the show moving at a good pace – a difficult job on an episodic script with many scenes. I do wonder if all that furniture was necessary for each scene. The handling of a long distance delay phone call was very well done. The use of era appropriate music to cover scene changes as well as the proper costumes and props were super. The production was well-produced by David Deratzian. The resulting confection is for anyone who likes to laugh.
by Michael Hollinger
Directed by Jim Balcerek
July 8 – 24, 2010
Playcrafters of Skippack
2011 Store Road (Off Rte. 73)