It Runs In The Family @The Gallery Players- A review By Joshua Young
The Gallery Players Production of It Runs In The Family is a delight. It’s such a rare and unexpected treat to attend a piece of theater that takes care of its audience so wholly as this production. The subtle and disarming little details wash over the audience even before the play begins as tinsel is arranged to resemble the waveform of a heart monitor. The attention to detail put into the scenic design later pays off through clever jokes based on revelations of that space; people being hidden in bathrooms, out the window, under drawers, and so on. If people constantly walking-in-and out of doors is a comical stereotype of farce, this production knows how to own that trope.
The Gallery Players inherently get farce and absolutely nail its delivery on stage.
It’s clear that some wonderful harmony was found between Mark Harborth’s direction and the performances of the actors. First, this play is exquisitely paced and so sharp in it’s bits that an audience member could only be bored if it were an act of silent and inexplicable protest. As for the cast, the performances of Joseph Cassese, Michael Hardart, Monica Ammerman, and Amy Scanlon deserve special attention. Every word uttered feels effortless, which goes a long way to furthering the pleasure of the audience in a farce, where the most absurd turns of events happen at every corner. The women in the piece, especially Ammerman and Scanlon deserve credit in their portrayals. One, a housewife whose husband is keeping a secret from her, the other, a former affair who arrives to deliver a secret, both revel in their ownership of status. It’s fun to see the men hop through endless loops either because of information one woman delivers or to prevent another from hearing that same information.
If there were any room for improvement it lay in the roles of Leslie and Bill. Larry Gutman’s portrayal of a wheelchair bound patient tends to detract in the second act as his schtick never changes. Ben Van Berkum’s Bill suffers the same curse as he seems unable to match the pace and tone of the actors around him. Neither is a blemish of any substance, but easy to notice in an otherwise flawless production.
The Gallery Players It Runs in the Family provides more theatrical entertainment than can be found in most broadway productions. The cast and crews efforts are earnest and genuine and that shines throughout the evening.
For more information on upcoming productions, please go to www.galleryplayers.com