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A2CT’s Studio Theatre has Big Fun with OR, (Review) June 21, 2014

Posted by ronannarbor in Ann Arbor, Theatre.
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What follows is my first Guest Review by Thalia Schramm for Ann Arbor Civic Theatre Studio Series production of ‘Or,” …since I am the Producer of this production, it wouldn’t be right for me to review the show — so I thank Thalia for taking the time to see and review the show!….And without further delay it follows:

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Currently performing in Ann Arbor Civic Theatre’s studio space is the period piece “OR,”. The story is based on the life of Aphra Behn: spy, poet, and first professional female playwright. Taking place for the most part during one night of Aphra’s life in the 1660s, Liz Duffy Adams’ hilarious script shows immense amounts of humor, intelligence, realism, and profanity. With a backdrop of long wars, a counter culture of free love, sex, cross-dressing, and artistic development, “OR,” draws inspiration from the Restoration Period, and the 1960s through the present.

The story starts as Aphra Behn (Erin Dion) is sprung from Debtor’s prison by King Charles II (Morgan Brown), and she is given a chance to write a show for a London theatre company by Lady Davenant (Sara Schreiber-Rose), if she can only finish the production by morning with a few well-timed distractions by new actor/lover Nell Gwynne (Rosemary Sullivan), demanding lover King Charles II, and on-the-run ex-lover and double agent William Scott (Morgan Brown again) who may know of a plot to murder the king. Phew! Director Wendy Wright has assembled a fantastic cast to carry out this zany script.

Dion leads the cast magnificently, executing every vocal nuance and joke in the best ways. She rides the line between classical and modern speech perfectly, and you are instantly drawn to her energy onstage. While Sullivan makes you laugh constantly, from the beginning of the show forcefully selling oranges to the audience, to brazen and sexy Nell Gwynne, to gross-but-loyal Maria (Aphra’s Maid); and as Lady Devenant, Schreiber-Rose is hilarious, knowing just the right amount of ridiculousness.

As an offering by A2CT’s Studio series, the set, hair and make-up do just the right things. Alexandra Berneis’ uses costume pieces from the Classical eras with selected modern touches that work wonderfully for the piece. Literally the only thing I would change is Kind Charles II’s long black curly wig (that often covered his face — and Dion’s.

All in all, as the first A2CT studio show I have seen, I loved it. I laughed the whole time, and the cast was great. Check out this show this weekend! Remaining shows are Saturday, June 21st at 8pm, and Sunday, June 22nd at 2pm. Tickets are available at the door, 322 West Ann Street.

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