Piccolo Theatre’s “Smash” Review – Delightful Shaw-Lite Romp

 

What fun!  First to climb the steps to get to the improbable Piccolo Theatre space in a Metra Station on Main Street in Evanston and then to ignore the trains going by. 

 

 

The light-hearted “Smash” –with its simple set (Scenic Design - Sarah Lewis)that fits this unique space well coupled with lush costumes (Costume Designer - Joshua D. Allard)—is an ideal match for this community theater setting.

 

 

Director Michael D. Graham has assembled talented actors, each seemingly richly endowed with an ear for perfect comedic timing. 

 

 

Most of all, it’s the script by Jeffrey Hatcher based on an early novel by socialist George Bernard Shaw that truly shines.  While its not that pile on of endearing tongue-twist language you may have come to expect in a Shaw play, there is no shortage of quick wit repartee and the Shaw like plot turns.  It is light and lite in comparison to heavier Shaw fare and this helps keep your smile plastered wide for the two hour run length. 

 

 

From the first curtain where the millionaire socialist Sidney Trefusis (Brandon Johnson) tells his newly minted bride Henrietta Jansenius (Megan DeLay) that he must leave her to start world revolution we are taken into the zone where the absurdity of ideologies of all types is laid bare. Trefusis’ hare-brained scheme to turn the world order upside down hinges on catching the ladies of Britain’s upper crust during their formative years in finishing school and training them to take on insurgent attitudes.   A rebellious student Agatha Wiley (Tracey Green) at war with the school’s headmistress (Barbara Anderson) becomes an accomplice of sorts first to Trefusis and then to her cousin, his jilted wife. 

 

The dozen actors pile on the shtick as they make their stereotypic characters come to life.  You won’t be sorry for this. Rather, you’ll revel in the romp.

 

Now through October 11.

 

Piccolo Arts Depot

600 Main Street

Evanston, IL

 

For information or tickets call 847 424 0089 or visit the Piccolo Theatre website

 

 

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Photos:  Robert Erving Potter III

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