Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Theater Review: Mr. Pim Passes By
This play is not going win any local theatre awards, it’s not going to cause any controversy, and that’s OK.
A.A. Milne is known primarily for Winnie the Pooh but he was also a successful playwright. His plays were performed on both sides of the Atlantic and later on fell out of favor. Mr. Pim Passes By presented by Anagram Productions at the Dallas Hub Theater reminds us clearly why he was so beloved as a playwright.
This delightful drawing room comedy is quintessentially British. The situation confronting the married couple is impossibly absurd: Olivia Marden inadvertently discovers when Mr. Pim passes by their house that her first husband may have never actually passed away, thus making her current marriage to George null but also making her a bigamist. Add to this mix a subplot of “will they or won’t they get married” between the young couple Brian Strange and Dinah Marden. This is a comedy of manners, though not as biting as Wilde or Coward. It is a most pleasant play and Anagram Productions gives it a very nice treatment.
The set is absolutely lovely, especially the hardwood floor effect. The décor of the Hub Theater lends itself for this set for it has a bit of a period feel. The costuming was nicely done, the lighting was well done. Technically the show was well executed except for the wigs. This is yet another production suffering from unrealistic wigs. Theater companies need to quit buying wigs from the theatrical supply stores in this town for the wigs there are too artificial in appearance. For about $5 to $10 more they can go to a wig store and get a realistic one. This is an unsolicited endorsement: Lemmon Wigshop, 4317 Lemmon Avenue, Dallas, TX 75219. They have hundreds of wigs and will also instruct you on how to properly put on a wig to so that it looks natural.
The acting was a bit uneven and at times a self-conscious, but overall the actors served the script well. The ladies were stronger then the men. Karen Cole as Olivia and Monica Remmers as Dinah stole the show. It helps that their parts as written are juicier. My only quibble with Ms. Remmers, is that she speak a little slower. I realize she is a bundle of energy but her enunciation at times got a bit sloppy because she spoke so fast. She has great lines and I didn’t want to miss any. Ms. Cole had a wonderful presence and superb upper-class British accent.
Ronnie Giddens as George, while good (and I would like to see him again in other shows) at times would repeat the same gesture; the director should have caught it and pointed it out to him, for as an actor I know I fall into the same trap and depend on someone to point it out to me. Dyaln Peck as Brian needed to be a bit more dashing, I felt like he was holding back. Nancy Lamb as the matron Lady Julia Marden gave her standard knockout performance. Ms. Lamb is an amazing actor, and I am a big fan of hers, but I must point out a flaw: she’s not very good at doing a British accent. Fortunately her acting skills more then compensate this flaw. Jessica Morris who plays Anne, did a lovely job with her small role.
I must mention and give kudos to Douglas Latham as Mr. Pim. He was recruited as a last minute replacement. It takes guts to go on stage on such short notice. He did fine for such a truncated rehearsal period, by the time this review comes out he’ll be excelling in the role.
This play is not going win any local theatre awards, it’s not going to cause any controversy, and that’s OK. Mr. Pim Passes By is most pleasant, delightful, and it’s refreshing to see a piece of theatre whose main purpose is to let us forget about the outside world and to simply entertain; luckily for us it succeeds.
Pegasus News Content partner - MBS Productions
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