Mid-Atlantic Traveler reviews the people, places, events, and foodways of the Roanoke, Shenandoah, Cumberland, and Susquehanna Valleys, with a particular emphasis on shows at the American Shakespeare Center in Staunton, VA.
Monday, October 25, 2010
Guest post by Jennifer Whicker
John Harrell in Wild Oats. Photo by Michael Bailey.
I saw the October 10 (10-10-10) Sunday matinée performance of Wild Oats. As a result I got to see Emily Gibson in the role of Jane, which is usually played by Ginna Hoben. Ginna was playing the very important role of beautiful bride that day. (Congrats Ginna and Sheffield!) Emily was hilarious as Jane, stealing most of the scenes she was in. I already have tickets to see this play again Thanksgiving weekend, but I am so glad that I was able to see this rare performance. It was a real treat. Chris Johnston gives a rollicking turn as Sim, Jane's brother. Benjamin Curns is equally entertaining as the back biting Farmer Gammon, Jane and Sim's "feyther." John Harrell gives one of my most favorite performances to date as the actor, Rover. Rover's interactions with Sir George Thunder played by James Keegan are priceless and laugh out loud funny; as are the scenes between Keegan and Paul Jannise. Jannise is especially funny as the long suffering John Dory, Sir George's man. Other standout performances include Sarah Fallon as devout Quaker Lady Mary Amaranth and Rene Thornton, Jr. as hypocritical Quaker Ephraim Smooth. The scene where Ephraim attempts to court Jane is particularly funny.
Musical standouts included Jeremiah Davis singing "I'll Fly Away." He has an amazing voice, that should not be missed. Also worth note was the troupe's version of AC/DC's "Thunderstruck" with Chris Johnston on banjo and Chris and Ben Curns on vocals. The musical talents of the American Shakespeare Center actors will drive a person to actually enjoy the banjo. ;)
Sarah Fallon in Wild Oats. Photo by Michael Bailey.
This was a riotous performance and may be my favorite of the plays I've seen this season. (It's between this and Othello.) I left this play with a headache and an aching face from all the laughing and smiling I did during the play. I am looking forward to seeing this play again next month.