On Stage: New Orleans Theatre Blasts Off With Five Openings
A Spate Of Strong Leading Parts For Women Let New Orleans' Actresses Show Off Their Acting Chops
by Roberts Batson
On Nov. 5, five area theatres opened new shows. This is not a good thing since most publications, including Impact News, have limited space. Consequently, each production receives less attention than deserved. In addition, a number of theatres are competing for a limited number of theatre-goers, slicing that finite pie into slivers. This writer hopes for some form of intratheatre communication so that these scheduling logjams can be avoided. Everyone could benefit.
Four of these productions are still running: The Beauty Queen Of Leenane, a Beefield Productions and Evangeline Theatre Co. offering at True Brew Cafe Theatre; Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters' First One Hundred Years, co-produced by Dog and Pony Theatre at Southern Rep; The Last Night Of Ballyhoo at Rivertown Repertory Theatre; and Lettice And Lovage at Le Petit Theatre Du Vieux Carre.
A fifth play, the premiere at UNO of Lot's Daughters by student playwright Rebecca Basham, has completed its two-week run.
An interesting commonality in all five is all have very strong leading parts for women providing showcases for the talents of some of New Orleans' finest actresses.
Limited space allows only capsule reviews. For the sake of brevity, a system of one to four stars is employed as a shortcut.
There are four leading women in Ballyhoo....***
Peter Shaffer's Lettice And Lovage....*
The Delaney Sisters....****
Perry Martin is serving up a mounting of The Beauty Queen Of Leenane at True Brew. This riveting production pays great attention to detail, both in the superbly low-keyed performances and in the visual production. Charlotte Schully as the mother and Janet Shea deliver such believeable performances that they seem to have inhabited these women all their lives. They make the climax of the play so compelling that audiences are stunned. Schully and Shea, along with Michael Cahill, who is fine in the role of a sweet and lonely man, also execute the Irish accents excellently. The fourth actor in this quartet, Barret O'Brien, seems a bit miscast, but with his good looks, a body would be fecking looney to quibble. ****
Janet Shea (left) confronts Charlotte Schully in The Beauty Queen Of Leenane.