Charley’s Aunt at Taproot Theatre

photo by Erik Stuhaug

The joy of the theatre is made more intense by a well written script and superior actors. 

Occasionally, you find a play where the chemistry just comes together and you have a masterpiece.

That is what you will find, as you wisk back in time to enjoy Charley’s Aunt at Taproot Theatre.

This story, originally written in 1892, is about three college gents, and their hijinks surrounding their lovelives.  As the plot thickens, our gents throw one of their friends (who has a love for the theatre) into the role of their aunt – only to have him become the love interest of every older man on the set.

Steve West did a tremendous job playing Lord Fancourt Babberly, who in turn played Charley’s Aunt – from Brazil – where the nuts come from.  His ability to play a role within a role was delightful.  He held both roles with such an agility – impressive.

Don Brady is a consummate actor.  He nearly stole the show.  How does a man be a butler to spoiled college lads?  With humor, it would seem.  In many ways, the butler, Brassett, is the eye of the audience, and therefore the one we identify with as we watch the play.  Brady does an excellent job of increasing the breadth of the role, and adding humor every time he is on stage.  He is truly a 100% actor.

Anne Kennedy is back, as Charlie’s love interest (Kitty).  I found that Anne did a great job with this role, not only playing the easy role of a pouty ward, but also a young girl with hopes and dreams, willing to take on the world, and an assertive woman with her own take on life.  Kitty came across as a fully-rounded person, and I think it was due primarily to Anne’s great acting.

photo by Erik Stuhaug

Samie Detzer and Emily Fairbrook play the other two young ladies, both with lesser roles, but both played them with grace and intelligence. These characters would have been easy to just play monodimensionally, but this wasn’t the case.  Every actor did a fantastic job becoming the part and understanding the different parts of the personality that make up the whole.

llysa Holland plays the real Charlie’s Aunt.  One of the highlights of this play is the ability for the actors to “think” outloud to the audience while the other characters remained oblivious.  This was particularly fun in the characters of Charlie’s Aunt and Brassett.  Llysa is a beautiful woman who brings dignity and poise to the role.

Two of my favorite actors - Andrew Litzky and  Nolan Palmer are the older gents who vie for Charlie’s Aunt’s attention.   This was a new role for Andrew, and it was fun to watch him stretch is acting – particularly in the physical acting realm.  When great actors take the stage, it is obvious – these two were obvious.  Superb.

Last, we have Eric Riedmann, friend of Charlie, and Josh Smyth, Charlie. I don’t think these roles were particularly stretching for these actors, but both were played well, drawing the audience into the predicament, and being incredibly great backdrop characters for their friend, dressed in drag. 

One other thing I want to bring to your attention is how awesome the new set at Taproot is.  Seriously, it is worth the trip just to see how they have transformed their set.  It is versatile, artistic, creative – tantalizing in its new ability to create a scene.

I hope you get a chance for a night out at Taproot – you will enjoy it.  You can purchase your tickets at their website.

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