Lifeline’s “Miss Buncle’s Book” Review – Lite Fun Reminding of Invisible Moments

Jenifer Tyler (front) as Barbara Buncle with (back, L to R) Kate Hildreth, Chris Vizurraga, Martel Manning, Sean Sinitski, Katie McLean Hainsworth, Elise Kauzlaric, and Kristina Loy; in Lifeline Theatre’s production of “Miss Buncle’s Book,” adapted by Christina Calvit, directed by Dorothy Milne, based on the novel by D.E. Stevenson. Photo by Suzanne Plunkett

 

Before curtain time we are immediately taken in by the lace clad house frame tops that are the set crown of “Miss Buncle’s Book” in the icebox Lifeline Theatre that thankfully always provides snuggly blankets on each seat.  (Scenic & Properties Designer Alan Donahue).  Then with scones, tea and a gaggle of British accents humming from the 10-person cast, we find ourselves quickly ensconced in a small village, somewhere near London. 

 

This is a very small village where everyone knows each other well--perhaps too well.  Miss Buncle (Jenifer Tyler), lives here and had secretly taken pen to paper to write about her fellow villagers as a way to make ends meet during difficult economic times.   Writing under a pseudonym, she tells it like it is.  So much so, in fact, that when copies of her book begin to circulate in her town, some take offense while others take it more as a playbook of how to change their life going forward. 

 

(L to R) Martel Manning as Stephen Bulmer, Katie McLean Hainsworth as Agatha Featherstone Hogg, Kate Hildreth as Mrs. Carter, and Elise Kauzlaric as Vivien Greensleeves; in Lifeline Theatre’s production of “Miss Buncle’s Book,” adapted by Christina Calvit, directed by Dorothy Milne, based on the novel by D.E. Stevenson. Photo by Suzanne Plunkett

 

For two hours or so we are amused by this able cast creating their lampooned characters acting out all hell breaking loose as a result of “Miss Buncle’s Book” being unleashed on the town.    (Peter Greenberg, Katharine Hildreth, Elise Kauzlaric, Kristina Loy, Martel Manning, Katie McLean Hainsworth, Tiffany Oglesby, Sean Sinitski, Jenifer Tyler, Chris Vizurraga.)

 

Kristina Loy (L) as Sally Carter and Chris Vizurraga (R) as Rev. Ernest Hathaway; in Lifeline Theatre’s production of “Miss Buncle’s Book,” adapted by Christina Calvit, directed by Dorothy Milne, based on the novel by D.E. Stevenson. Photo by Suzanne Plunkett

 

It’s lite, it’s fun, and especially so because you sense the cast is enjoying themselves quite a bit as they lay on the caricatures. 

 

We are in on the secret that the outraged townsfolk can’t guess.  Nobody in town even remotely considers mousy Miss Buncle as the perpetrator.  She meanwhile acts out her Walter Mitty type fantasies of getting even or at least her due. 

 

Jenifer Tyler (L) as Barbara Buncle and Peter Greenberg (R) as Arthur Abbott; in Lifeline Theatre’s production of “Miss Buncle’s Book,” adapted by Christina Calvit, directed by Dorothy Milne, based on the novel by D.E. Stevenson. Photo by Suzanne Plunkett

 

Get her due she does, and her man and her life, and ultimately the most fashionable and brave hat of them all.  (Costume Designer Izumi Inaba). 

 

Most of us have, like Miss Buncle, had a moment or two or more when we were invisible and underestimated.  Remembering the time/s when you, like Miss Buncle, weren’t taken seriously -- just a pretty face, or too old, or too young, or the wrong race, or the outsider of the school “in” crowd, etc.  --- will help you connect to this lite story.

 

Now through November 1.

 

Lifeline Theatre

6912 Glenwood Avenue

 

Note: Free Parking and shuttle.

 

For more information or tickets call 773 761 4477 or visit the Lifeline Theatre website.

 

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