The Manor Review - It Just Keeps Getting Better

 

For the fifteenth year, Theatre 40 presents its true-crime mystery in the echoing halls of Greystone Manor, where much of the real-life action occurred. A fictionalized account of the Doheny family - oil-rich, fabulously wealthy, and yet tragic - THE MANOR recounts the story of the MacAllister clan led by family patriarch and mining tycoon Charles (pseudonyms, of course) and inhabited by his wife Marion, his son Sean, and his son’s wife Abby. The play opens in “the Roaring 20’s” with the principals celebrating the festive wedding of the MacAllister scion and his blushing bride.

 

 

 

Several years later, when the Teapot Dome Scandal explodes onto the American scene during U.S. President Warren Harding’s administration, Charles finds himself in the thick of it after making a deal with Senator Alfred Winston for mining rights in exchange for financing the Pearl Harbor military base - and then advances his old friend Winston an illegal but well-intentioned loan which looks suspiciously like a bribe. A systematic “tar-and-feathering,” and maybe even a jail term, seem imminent. As if not enough tragedy has befallen the family, “upstairs-downstairs” drama begins to engulf the junior members of the household.  Ultimately, Charles’ only son and heir to his empire is murdered. Hard to believe, but the basics of this story are rooted in fact.

 

 

 

Written by Kathrine Bates (who also plays Marion MacAlister), directed by Flora Plumb, and produced for Theatre 40 by David Hunt Stafford and Kathrine Bates, this intriguing production has been gracing the halls of the Greystone Mansion for over a decade with more than 200 performances and has become a Los Angeles/Beverly Hills institution. The play is fascinating – but it’s equally as fascinating to wander through some of the huge public rooms and smaller private rooms in this iconic mansion. The flavor of the story seeps into your bones, and you begin to wonder if there might not be some ghosts hiding in the nooks and crannies.

 

 

 

A dozen talented and capable cast members bring the poignant tale alive and include Darby Hinton (Charles MacAlister), Ben Gaven/John-Paul Lavoisier (Sean MacAlister), and Annalee Scott/Shelby Kocee (Abby MacAlister). The entire ensemble cast can’t be beat - and that includes the three MacAlister family retainers who guide audiences from room to room so that they can spy on what’s going on in these hallowed halls out of the earshot of the world.

 

 

 

A Theatre 40 production, THE MANOR runs through February 5, 2016 at the Greystone Mansion, Greystone Park, 905 Loma Vista Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210. Performances are at 6 p.m. on weeknights. All matinees and other previously announced performances are currently sold out. Tickets cost $60. For reservations, call 310-694-6118 or go online at www.theatre40.org.

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