By David-Edward Hughes

WITH THE FRINGE FESTIVAL now under way, I am pleased to spotlight ine of the newer fringe groups, The Repertory Actors Workshop's delicious new production of A.R. Gurney's The Dining Room at Theatre Off Jackson. Non-traditionally casting of this traditionally waspy author's work proves a challenge well-met by director Kathy Hsieh and a versatile cast.

With virtually no changes in makeup, and minimal costume changes, the actors convincingly essay characters ranging from eight to eighty, the connecting thread being the dining room they interact in. Standouts in a wholly fine ensemble were Gigi Jhong's scene-stealing Dora, Hing Lam's venerable Grandfather, Christine Sperry's heartbreakingly confused Old Lady. Notable in their dexterity moving from character to character were Bradetta Vines, John Bianchi and T.J. Langley.

Hsieh's convention (or is it Gurney's) of the characters from one vignette remaining on the set for a few moments into the next, proved quite effective. And the dining room set itself was quite lovely indeed, given what must have been a limited budget.

The Dining Room faces enormous competition from the Fringe Fest this weekend, but it's one I recommend you don't pass up. Runs Thursdays-Saturdays at 8pm, Sunday at 4pm. FFI, call 364-3283

March 3, 1994


© 1994 Twist Weekly. This page was reprinted by ReAct with permission by David-Edward Hughes.

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