Dates and Venue 24 August - 21 September | Metro Theatre, Vancouver
Reviewer Ed Farolan
Launching its 51st season, Metro presents this classic piece of stagecraft about witchcraft. Baby Boomers will fondly remember the long-running TV show Bewitched, which was based on this play. Jennifer McLaren as Gillian had all the Elizabeth Montgomery moves. She must have really studied this TV actress in the Bewitched series. Kim Novak's portrayal in the movie version was obviously not the model followed by McLaren. On the other hand, however, her love interest, Jim Bjorkes (Shepherd “Shep” Henderson“) wasn't as funny as Darrin (Dick York and Dick Sargent) in the TV production. He looked serious and acted that way throughout. Perhaps Director Tracy Labrosse meant it to be that way.
Trevor Roberts as Nicholas “Nicky” Holroyd as Gillian's gay warlock brother was funny as was Kevin Sloan (Sidney Redlitch). Paul Lynde played the uncle, and not the brother and David White played Darrin's boss and not an author of witchcraft books as was the original play.
For those still following the Bewitched series on TV on Fridays, Agnes Moorehead played Samantha's mother in the series, but in the original play, she's her aunt (Alison Main-Tourneur as Aunt Queenie). Her acting wasn't bad at all. She had Moorehead's eccentric role played to the T.
The play's pace was a bit slow in the beginning, but then picked up towards the end of the first act. But then, the second act had a few snags. There were a few repetitive dialogues which should have been edited. Perhaps the three scenes should have been compressed into two and bring down the playing time to under two hours with intermission instead of the almost two and a half hours.
In this day and age, plays have to be cut shorter because of the audience's attention span, especially for period plays like this one which would have been fine when produced in the 1950s this character.
The set was beautiful as I've mentioned many times. Metro has the best production sets in all of Vancouver especially when it does shows that take place inside homes. he lighting and "magic" effects were also well-done.
Kudos to Metro Theatre for their first production in this their 51st anniversary!
© 2013 Ed Farolan