First of all, I am up in the middle of the night with yet another bloody nose episode, so this is probably going all over the map and will not make much sense. I don't write reviews, I write about my experiences. After all, isn't it always all about me?
My friend and I saw the play on Wednesday night. The Playhouse was all boarded up and I thought, what the hell is this? But there were bills on the outside saying to go across the street to 533 Sutter - the Jean Shelton Acting School. Once inside that building, it was even more confusing. Through a narrow hall, you had to walk to the back of the building and then climb a steep flight of stairs. At the stop of the stairs was a little reception area with a sofa, a couple of benches, etc. and the additional benefit of a nail salon with an open door from which emanated the most noxious fumes. Those fumes really got me from minute one.
Our tickets were for secondary assigned seating (whatever THAT meant) due to a foul up on Goldstar where I chose ASSIGNED SEATING over GENERAL SEATING (even though the price was cheaper for the former and I wanted the best seats I could get). But upon presentation of the receipt from Goldstar, we were given tickets in the second row (turns out once again, no bad seats, theatre has only eight rows and if I had paid the higher price we would no doubt have been right under the actor's noses) (as it was, we were maybe three feet from the stage). Ah, the better to see you with, Mr. Talmadge!
Did I ever mention that a few years ago, I went to see the first Pirates of the Caribbean film and during the previews of coming attractions, they showed a trailer for Hidalgo? Anyway, I was not with Lyn (which is only relevant when I make my point). All of a sudden, I see this striking, exotic looking man in a top hat, asking Viggo Mortensen if he had ever heard of some race in the Sahara Desert. I screamed out loud "That's Victor Talmadge!" and most of the audience told me to shush but I am sure some of the people were wondering, "who the hell is Victor Talmadge." (for some reason, many actors who catch the attention of my little circle of friends are listed somewhere to the bottom of the credits, if you get my drift). Later, I called Lyn to see how she liked the Pirates film (she saw it in another theatre that same night) and then I said, "That was a blast from the past, seeing Victor Talmadge." She had not even recognized him! And his name did not show up as a cast member on IMDB for some time. Hah! I spotted him and she did not. After all those trips to see him as Best King I Ever See At Funeral, first with Hayley Mills as Mrs. Anna and then with (choke) Marie Osmond and her bad English accent, I was surprised that Lyn had not noticed him or at least, recognized his very distinct voice. Back to the play. So, when Mr. Talmadge walked into the lobby before the show on Wednesday, a little part of us wanted to hum March of the Siamese Children, but we behaved ourselves.
Meanwhile, back at the play. Lyman Felt is a bigamist who has gotten away with two marriages and families for some time, until he crashes his car coming down Mount Morgan and both wives show up at the hospital. Victor Talmadge brought a lot of depth to the character, who because he genuinely loved both women, did not really come off as a cad or a caricature. Karen Grassle was great as the first wife who, although a little prudish had a very wild side to her nature which unfolds during the play. Wife # 2 was good, too (but my playbill is in the car and I don't know her name). Also, the actor who played Lyman's attorney was really, really good. I will find my playbill (after daylight) and update this with their names.