Thursday
November
20
2014
6:27 pm
Weather

  Home
  Local News
  State / National / World
  Sports
  Opinion / Letters
  Business
  Arts / Entertainment
  Lifestyle
  Obituaries
  Calendar
  Submit Event
  Comics / Games
  Classifieds
  DJ Designers
  Archives
  Advertise With Us
  About Us
 
 
 
 
Tour de force acting in Hillbarn’s ‘Lettice and Lovage’
October 26, 2013, 05:00 AM By Judy Richter Daily Journal

Mark & Tracy Photography
Lettice Douffet (Monica Cappuccini) spins a tale of woe to Mr. Bardolph (John Baldwin) in Hillbarn Theatre’s Presentation of ‘Lettice and Lovage.’

As bored as the tourists she leads through “the dullest house in England,” a guide begins to embroider her stories about the history of Fustian House.

Soon the tourists are fascinated as Peter Shaffer’s “Lettice and Lovage” gets underway at Hillbarn Theatre. Eventually word of her fabrications gets back to her employer, England’s Preservation Trust. That’s when the guide, Lettice Douffet (Monica Cappuccini), is confronted by a trust manager, Lotte Schoen (Celia Maurice), who fires her.

Ten weeks later, though, a contrite Lotte shows up at Lettice’s basement flat. The chilly air in this meeting begins to warm, especially when Lettice offers Lotte her special quaff, which includes vodka, other ingredients and an herb, lovage.

Their friendship continues nicely until an unfortunate incident. Even that turns out well as the two middle-aged women figure out a new way to support themselves while making the best use of their particular skills and interests.

Shaffer wrote this play for the great Dame Maggie Smith as Lettice. Although no one can duplicate a performer of that caliber, this play demands an actress who can carry it with long stretches of theatrical dialogue about English history and Lettice’s revered actress mother. Lettice tries to live by her mother’s motto, “Enlarge, enliven, enlighten.”

Director Greg Fritsch’s choice of Cappuccini is indeed fortuitous, for she delivers a tour de force performance throughout the three-act, two-intermission play. She’s well balanced by Maurice’s Lotte, whose more practical approach to life is an effective foil to Lettice’s dramatic ways.

The supporting cast is good, especially Lauren Rhodes as Miss Framer, Lotte’s giggly secretary; and John Baldwin as Mr. Bardolph, the solicitor who’s supposed to defend Lettice after the incident with Lotte.

Although their small parts are limited to the first act, Hiedeh Honari Saghi, Lindsey DeLost, Denise Beruman and Marc Berman quickly alter their personas as successive groups of tourists through Fustian House.

Using a turntable, the set by Robert Broadfoot readily switches to different locations. Shannon Maxham’s costumes are noteworthy, especially the red hats (a sly reference to the Red Hat Society for women) on one group of tourists.

Valerie Clear’s lighting works well, but the music in her sound design drowns out Lettice’s speeches at the beginning of Acts 1 and 2. This is a greater problem in Act 1, when Lettice repeats her set speech several times. Because the audience can’t hear it very well, there’s not enough contrast when the music stops and she begins to insert her own details.

Otherwise, this is an engaging, enjoyable production, thanks in large part to Cappuccini’s outstanding performance. Lettice and Lovage” will continue at Hillbarn Theatre, 1285 E. Hillsdale Blvd., Foster City, through Nov. 3. For tickets and information, call 349-6411 or visit www.hillbarntheatre.org.

 

 

Tags: lettice, lotte, their, lettice, tourists, begins,


Other stories from today:

 

 
Print this Page Print this Page  |  Bookmark and Share
<< Back
 
Return To Archives
 
  


 
 
 
Daily Journal Quick Poll
 
What do you think of the proposal to raise UC tuition rates 5 percent a year for five years?

It's too much
Will avoid a large spike when the tuition freeze is over
UCs need to cut costs
The state needs to fund it more
The state needs to fund it more and the UCs need to cut costs
Don't know enough about it

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
Obama spurns GOP with expansive immigration orders
WASHINGTON — Spurning furious Republicans, President Barack Obama unveiled expansive executive act..
San Mateo man arrested for crash that injured teacher, special needs students
After a more than two-month investigation, the San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office fil..
University tuition increases adopted in California
SAN FRANCISCO — The University of California voted Thursday to approve a tuition increase of as mu..
PG&E fined over alleged secret dealings
SAN FRANCISCO — State regulators Thursday fined Pacific Gas & Electric Co. and required its shareh..
US consumer prices unchanged in October
WASHINGTON — U.S. consumer prices were unchanged in October as a fourth straight decline in gasoli..
More >>  
 
 
  
 
  
 
©2014 San Mateo Daily Journal
San Mateo County events