Turn To Flesh Productions' show 'The Other, Other Woman' is a form of modern Shakespeare. It's a fun, modern take on many of the familiar medieval tropes. If you have a love of Shakespeare, then this show is definitely for you! You get to see very high-level writing and acting, without it being the 20th time seeing 'Romeo & Juliet'!
The story is set in a wild version of Enlightenment France, where everyone is sleeping with one another and create legal contracts between spouses such as 'You may sleep around but are not allowed to fall in love with anyone' (I'm paraphrasing here). With a change of the king, a princess comes to town hoping to work with the church to bring back monogamy. What follows is a Shakespearean farce with many wonderful characters contending with all of their mixed situations and emotions. The show is a terrific blend of comedy and tragedy.
What can I say about this woman? She is obviously a genius. She has written a show with a large amount of characters all playing off of one another, and the weaving in and out of situations is handled with such aplomb that it's magic to watch. The script has incredibly complex-yet-wonderful structure, filled with great comedy, deep and meaningful drama, and a whole lot of heart. On top of which she has assembled an amazing cast who she's directed marvelously. Theater in the round is difficult, but the staging is engaging and the performances she's gotten ring true.
Ms. Wilde was an excellent choice for this role. She brings a sensitivity to her character that makes you feel every little moment of the princesses fears, joys and pain. She's a joy to watch from the second she is on stage, and her empathy always rings true. This is a part that is difficult to play, sort of the 'straight man' in a comedy, and can easily have gone flat. But Ms. Wilde is able to keep your attention because she is so engaged and believable.
The part of Monsieur Valentine is played with verve and energy by Mr. Caram, who give a stellar performance as the man struggling with his own morality.
Wow! What a stellar performance. I love when an actor can take a smaller role and really stand out in it. Ms. Hill has the ability to take the smallest line read, and find the beats in it. Whether it's making the audience laugh or crunching a dramatic moment. Sometimes it's with a sledgehammer of a line read - but other times a small, subtle tick of the face. The extra joy is seeing how even in a theatrical setting, the audience gets it, and responds. She always feels like an actor who is in total control and you really want to go along for the ride.
Mr. Varga is quit enjoyable as the always comedically-pained Beaudemonde. He brings great, farcical comedy to the role and elevates it with his big and bold body language and flourishes.
At first you think this will be a minor character. I believe she doesn't even speak for a while in the show. Yet you notice Madame Evolette as she prances around in a very sexy, almost burlesque outfit. Slowly, as the show develops, Madame Evolette becomes an integral character and we're able to see Ms. Roberts take control of the room. She is able to create a character that is both incredibly strong, yet at the same time fragile, which is exactly what is needed to make this character work. Ms. Roberts is able to walk this fence in a terrific performance that keeps teetering just on the edge, which keeps us wanting more.
Such a fun performance by Joe Raik! The audience gets to know rather quickly that any time Mr. Raik steps on stage, fun will be had. Sure, this is the nature of the role of 'Impetueux', but it takes an actor who understands this, and has a command of the stage, to make it work. Bravo!
The beautiful Ms. Cobb is a joy to watch as the snarky-yet-coy Gravide. She is able to take a character that could have been overbearing to watch if only played as angry, and makes her very appealing as Gravide's fates in life change. It's fun to watch a strong actress take on a strong role.
Kudos goes out the rest of the cast who were all terrific in their roles. Laurel Anderson, Regina Renee Russell, Bridget Randolph, Emily Sarah Cohn, Justy Kosek, Chris Rivera – All deserve their own reviews and applause (it's just such a big cast!). But it's exceptional to see a small production like this where truly every member of the production is a stellar performer.
Overall, I loved this show. It was quite long, but every scene had purpose and meaning, to the point where it would be difficult for the writer to find where to cut it down.
If you wish to see a show with excellent writing and a wonderful cast, go see this show!
Playing Oct 4-12. See http://www.turntoflesh.org/