Wednesday, October 19, 2011

review - Noel Coward's Peace in Our Time

CRITIC'S PICK
Peace in Our Time
by Noel Coward
new adaptation by Barry Creyton
directed by Casey Stangl
through December 11
@ Antaeus Company

double casts
visit for schedule:
www.antaeus.org
Noel Coward's genius lives on through Barry Creyton's new adaptation world premiere of Peace in Our Time currently on stage at the Antaeus Company in NoHo. As you step across the stage to your seat, crossing the wooden floor of the pub that forms the decor (incredible set by Tom Buderwitz) for the drama with music set from 1940-1945 London, you feel an instant connection to the place and time. The small screen above the stage intermittently shows black and white newsreel footage of the period and sets the various changes in scene.

With the addition of nine of Coward's lesser-known songs to this adaptation, the play takes on a richer texture exposing the intense spirit and raw nerve of the Brits who whilst in the midst of Nazi occupation, formed their own resistance groups that fought for the nation's freedom. The story is deeply personal as the pub's owners' (Josh Clark, Eve Gordon) son Stevie (Brian Tichnell), thought to be dead, returns home to disclose that he is a member of the resistance. Two others who frequent the bar (Philip Proctor, Anna Mathias) have a son Billy (John Francis O'Brien) who escapes the camps and becomes another member of the group. Stevie's sister Doris (Abby Wilde) is caught by Albrecht Richter (Rob Nagle), arrested, tortured and killed, and this heinous crime sets off a courageous act of revenge which brings peace to the families, just as Allied troups land in 1945 to bring an end to the war.

Casey Stangl provides top-notch direction of a sterling cast (double) from top to bottom. On the day I attended, other outstanding cast members not mentioned earlier include: Bill Brochtrup, Ann Noble, Melinda Peterson, Mark Doerr and Rebecca Mozo. In this kind of atmosphere play, it's all for one and one for all. You can feel the intensity of spirit of the characters as they live and breathe through this most perilous time in their history thanks to a miraculous ensemble.

Bravo, bravo, bravo to a sensational production, yet another triumph for the Antaeus Company.

5 out of 5 stars

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