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A CurtainUp Los Angeles Review
Schwartz’s TV expertise is evident in the one-liners, recurrent scarf gag and over-emphasis that characterize that form but his stage background gleams through in some of the poignant scenes he creates: the impossible Kate’s longing to live with her daughter Peggy and granddaughter Jennifer, lonely Louella’s obsession with her successful son William, stoic Rose’s courage in the face of hovering tragedy.
The anecdotes the women tell are boring but realistically boring. That’s how they pass the time. Their children are the light of their lives. When Rose’s actor-son Marty gets a part in King Lear, he brings them the three sisters’ speech to read, complete with wigs. It works much better than the embarrassing "My Dear Mr. Shane" that the women perform later for the Home Talent Show.
Director Marcia Rodd doesn’t play Rockers for cheap laughs but she gives the humor it’s due without losing sight of the harsh pain that can transpire. The faintly shabby facade of the residence looks more like a country home than a retirement hotel, complete with wide veranda and rocking chairs.
Elsa Raven is deeply credible as the warm serene Rose. Pat Crawford Brown, a delightful comedienne, is hilarious as Kate, so overbearing and cantankerous that the only way her daughter can love her is not to live with her. Lee Meriwether’s luminous beauty enhances the gentle charm she brings to the naïve, fluttery Southern belle, Louella.
As Rose’s actor son Marty, Matthew Hoffman strikes just the right note in Edmund’s speech from the Lear of a very very very Off-Broadway actor. Arden Teresa Lewis emanates cheery solidity as Kate’s daughter Peggy and it would have been wonderful to see more of that faithful jogger, Mr. Fletcher. Kate, a born exaggerator, notes that at their New Year’s Eve party which lasted until almost 9 o’clock, "Gloria was dancing with Mr. Fletcher and did almost an entire tango with him before she found out he was dead."” Rose reminds her he just had a little stroke and Mr. Fletcher devotes himself to his jogging throughout the play. He’s a better recurring gag than the scarf Rose knits which falls down the steps repeatedly and one of the pleasures to be had from this enjoyable production.
Easy-on-the budget super gift for yourself and your musical loving friends. Tons of gorgeous pictures.
Leonard Maltin's 2007 Movie Guide
At This Theater