VICTORIA’S HOUSE, by Fred Carmichael, is a colorless mystery set in “the living room of a house on the British coast at the turn of the century” according to the Village Players program. Actually, the set itself was literally black and white with various shades of gray in between, as was the entire wardrobe of all the nine cast members. It had to have been a deliberate theme by Director Jacquelyn Green. (How ironic is that?) I guess this was the idea of the show; that everything isn’t black or white, with one major exception. However, if I tell you the REAL color of this droll little play is RED, it may give away the plot. The plot? Victoria, played by Maggie Marshall, is a sickly woman who somehow, quickly, marries Neil Bannister (Brian Richichi). Victoria owns an estate that has been passed on to her for generations. However, something doesn’t seem right with the new hubby and it becomes clear early on that he is the bad guy. There is always a bad guy in these types of plays. Seems as if hubby plots along with another bad guy (gal?), Mrs. Case, the newly hired housekeeper (Andrea B. Paul) to murder Victoria and inherit her wealth. Apparently, Bannister and Case have done this before with another woman and have gotten away with it. But we know from these kinds of plays that maybe they won’t this time. Or will they?
Fran Carroll, who plays the stable boy / handy man and Rachel Daly who portrays the house maid, are long time servants to Victoria and are loyal to her until the end. Ginny Pickles plays a friend of the family, while Anthony Cipollo acts as the family solicitor. Angie Schlauch is Victoria’s niece. Then enter, as always, the mystery man, Charles Axton, (Jon Zucker). Axton arrives on the scene and well, the play goes off in a different direction. If I get into the direction, I probably give away the whole plot. I would not want to do that.
A new team of “He Said, She Said” attended the Saturday evening performance and they didn’t know it until they were kind enough to be interviewed. Jerry and Millie from Warrington, PA, who have attended over twelve productions at the theatre, provided the audience take on the show. And it could not have been more “Black and White”. It seemed that Jerry was more positive than Millie. Jerry, despite not liking the first act as “dull”, enjoyed the rest of the play as “entertaining”. He likes the idea of volunteer actors up on stage giving their all. Millie, on the other hand, thought that it was “not one of the best” shows she has seen at Village Players. She thought there was not enough action; that it was flat. I questioned her further to see if it was the script that was the problem for her. I said that it is possible to like the performances but dislike the script. Millie agreed. She also agreed with Jerry that Zucker’s performance was their favorite. “He is doing a nice job with the piece”.
by Fred Carmichael
Directed by Jacquelyn Green
October 8 – 23, 2010
Village Players of Hatboro
401 Jefferson Avenue