All Things Entertaining and Cultural

Ruth, Billy, Nativity, Ralphie, Free Man, Matilda, Mrs. Wilson, Musketeers, Lintel

BECOMING DR. RUTH — Walnut Independence on 3, Philadelphia, through December 27 — Jane Ridley is consistently engaging in Mark St. Germain’s chatty, informative solo play about Karola Siegel who morphed through Zionism and marriage into Ruth K. Westheimer and became an internationally celebrated sex therapist at age 50. Ridley treats us as her guests and regales us about Westheimer’s life in Germany, Switzerland, Israel, France, and the United States. We learn what gives the good doctor’s life texture and joy and see how humor and a positive attitude enhances survival, a subject Ruth Westheimer knows well. Time spent with Ridley’s Westheimer is well-spent. A fan of Dr. Ruth or not, audiences will be taken with Ridley’s witty, congenial portrayal. Overall grade: A


billy elliot -- interiorBILLY ELLIOT — Media Theatre , Media, through January 3 — As usual with 2007 musical version of the 2000 movie, the personal scenes that concentrate on Billy, whether he’s dancing or not, are the strength of this production. Labor turmoil in England’s nationalized mines might create context and backdrop, but they impinge on what matters most in “Billy Elliot,” which is not, for all it wants to be, a political tract but the sweet story of a boy with significant talent in a region and town that marginally understands such specialty. Numbers like “Solidarity” always seem like a simplistic interruption, but in Geoffrey Goldberg’s production, they don’t integrate at all. Rather than interrupt, they disrupt. Luckily, most of Lee Hall’s script dwells on Billy and the adolescent conflicts he faces as an almost-orphan. The actors in Goldberg’s staging make Billy’s journey from working class ragamuffin to potential ballet star quite moving. Anne Connors gives the performance of her career as Sandra Wilkinson, the village dance teacher who discovers a student that gratifies and motivates her beyond the chance to rake in another 50 pence for lessons. Brandon Ranalli is a touching Billy who demonstrates the dancing flair Mrs. Wilkinson sees, at times thrillingly. Zach Wobensmith is a master of quiet dignity and quieter compassion as Billy’s father, a man torn between the only life he’s known and a son who challenges its orderly regularity. Garrison Carpenter shows grit and strength as Billy’s brother. Nathan Esser is a wonder of nature as Billy’s best mate, Michael. His ease in the role boosts the production’s entertainment value. Susan Wefel has beautiful moments as Billy’s grandmother. Elisa Matthews radiates love as Billy’s late mother. Kelly Briggs, proving he is made for character roles, shines in a number of parts. Carl Nathaniel Smith provides good cameos as a scab who endures shunning while feeling he remains part of the community. These performances are singled out because it is the intimate, individual work that fuels this production and provides its core. Except for the “Merry Christmas, Maggie Thatcher” number that opens Act II, ensemble work has little theatrical impact. The actual opening scenes threaten to scuttle Goldberg’s production before it has a chance to recover with Wefel’s breakfast shenanigans and Connors’s lifesaving entrance. They humanize the chaos. Overall grade: B


black nativity -- interiorBLACK NATIVITY — Theatre Horizon, Norristown, through December 13 — Ozzie Jones’s production dazzles in just about every way a theater piece can. Even before you see the prodigious talent of Jones’s stunningly versatile cast, you notice “Black Nativity” has one of the most beautiful casts ever assembled. When Kingsley Ibeneche and Sanchel Brown dance, or the radiant Candace Benson sings and skitters across the Horizon stage, none of the superlatives used so far are potent enough to express the joy, admiration, and emotion they generate. Jenn Rose’s choreography is exciting, but Ibeneche, Brown, and others take it beyond the parameters of dance to a celebration of human body and spirit. Langston Hughes’s play gives the dance a context, and while you marvel at the leads’ physical dexterity and muscular control, you feel the essence of what Hughes’s script, updated since his 1967 death, is expressing. African dance is the basis for Rose’s work, and the excitement of it electrifies the entire Horizon space, already decorated colorfully and evocatively by set designer Brian Dudkiewicz, visual artist Theodore A. Harris, and properties designer Jeanette Leh. Ibeneche and Brown lead the “Black Nativity” troupe in moves that seem gravity and muscle-defying. Passion mixes with talent, so that the performances give extra weight to the first act story of Jesus’s birth at the inn in Bethlehem and a second act tale of a neighborhood congregation meeting just after the devastation of New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina. In this case, Jones’s physical production supersedes text and becomes a raison d’etre of its own. Candace Benson, whether she is singing, moving joyfully and with infectious spirit, or acting a scene in which she is praying for her grandmother’s life, astounds with the depth and effectiveness of her presence. Angelica Jackson is a marvelous narrator and another who can sing, dance, and act in a manner that is at once effortless and affecting. Kudos also to Will Brock III, Kayla Tarpley, Devon Eric Taylor, Adam Hoyak, Timotheus “Moe” Peay, and Nastassja Basset for their significant contributions to Jones’s lovely work. Overall grade: A+


A CHRISTMAS STORY — Walnut Street Theatre, Philadelphia, through January 3 — The tone, humanity, and humor of Jean Shepherd’s wonderful story from his ’60s collection of essays, “In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash,” is faithfully transferred to the Walnut Street Theatre stage in this ebullient production directed by James Rocco and choreographed with aplomb by Linda Goodrich. All of the episodes Shepherd made so funny — the rowdy dogs who live next door to Parkers, the leg lamp the Parker pere wins in a literary contest, the triple dog dare bet that leads to a kid’s tongue sticking to a freezing pole, and the coveted Red Ryder air rifle that is destined to knock a kid’s eye out — are affectionately and entertaining gathered by book writer Joseph Robinette and composers Justin Paul and Benj Pasek in this smart, well-conceived piece. Paul and Pasek are particularly commended for the quality and wit of their lyrics, which far exceed the drivel that passes for verbal communication in most show music today. J Branson’s set for Rocco’s staging is perfect, the sliding board at Higbee’s SantaLand being an inspired touch. All is kept light, and nothing profound or insightful emerges, but that is a relief. This is mild entertainment that depends on familiarity with family situation and childhood dilemmas. Its joy is subtle, cumulative, and constant. The word “story” is in Shepherd’s title, the subsequent movie title, and this musical’s title. Rocco, Richman, and company take that to heart as they episodically show Ralphie Parker’s campaign to get his obsessively desired gun for Christmas. From beginning to end, NealBoxRocco’s production is well paced and remains a delight, just the kind of Christmas confection that keeps holiday spirit all that Hallmark and American tradition say it should be. (And nothing in the Walnut staging is nearly as corny as that last phrase.) Lyn Philistine brings solidity and warmth to the production as Ralphie’s mother. Ellie Mooney has and provides a great time as teacher singing “You’ll Shoot Your Eye Out!” in a slick fantasy nightclub number. Christopher Sutton is, as usual, excellent as Ralphie’s father. Sutton is particularly good at machine gunning the string of expletives Shepherd describes the father using in his book. Bill Van Horn is nicely ironic as Shepherd narrating his story. Liam Keenan is a Ralphie dedicated to earning that rifle through a series of deeds that mostly backfire. Timmy Woodward shows moxie as Ralphie’s little brother. Marco Porras and Jake Kleeman register nicely as Ralphie’s triple dog dare-happy friends. Nice cameo work is done by Melissa Joy Hart as a dismayed mother, and Fran Prisco as a crotchety Santa. Main kudos go to Paul and Pasek who kept Shepherd’s event-filled but thematically slight story going so fluidly and entertainingly, and for writing original songs that recalled familiar genres while rhyming cleanly and advancing the story. “Ralphie to the Rescue” is a great example of creating a tune that is new but makes you think of a 100 movie and TV themes that denote the same kind of sentiment. Overall grade: A


A FREE MAN OF COLOR — Temple Theaters, closed November 21 — John Guare’s play about race relations in an early 19th century New Orleans that went quickly from Spanish to French to America jurisdiction, sprawls convolutedly under the best of circumstances. Though Guare remains fairly astute and accurate about history, he tries to cram too much into this play, and in addition to going on and on beyond anyone’s patience to absorb all he’s revealing, he jumps from style to style and plot and plot, at one point appropriating Ben Jonson’s “Volpone” and William Wycherley’s “The Country Wife” simultaneously to serve his needs. Guare’s work is messy, but Douglas C. Wager’s production of “A Free Man of Color” for Temple Theaters is messier. It has no cohesion. Wager calls it a phantasmagoria and seems to think that gives him carte blanche to do an outrageous vaudeville that never takes the time to establish mood, attitude, or personality. Wager’s production is more haphazard than Guare’s script and not nearly as interesting. Guare’s lead characters, Jacques Cornet, is one of the richest men in New Orleans based on his own swindling abilities, his tight-fistedness, and a legacy left by his stepfather, a legacy his stepbrother resents him having and schemes to get back or at least share. Cornet is a mulatto, but that doesn’t mean too much in New Orleans, which in 1801 is governed by Spain and not subject to the newly formed America’s laxity about curbing slavery. Slaves exist in New Orleans. Cornet owns some. But slavery is not the automatic lot of people of color in the Gulfcoast city’s free-wheeling environment. Cornet being a mulatto is not as important as his being despised by others of varying mixed race because of his wealth, arrogance, and womanizing, including with married woman. Octoroons and others are happy to brand Cornet a candidate for slavery because of his jealousy and disdain for his studiedly independent lifestyle. As mentioned, Guare adds historical context in scenes featuring a beset Napoleon and a wishy-washy Thomas Jefferson, who never comes to any useful decision about slavery and who makes matters worse from some people of color following America’s acquisition of New Orleans via the Louisiana Purchase of 1803. These historical scenes, if done well (which they’re not) should provide insight into the origin of racial tension throughout American history. “A Free Man of Color” should be thought-provoking, but Guare is too smugly self-conscious, and Wager gives the Temple production no form. Nothing in it takes hold. You can’t savor what Guare does well or the potential quality of Kalen Allen’s lead performance. It’s a three-hour bore from beginning to end, any interest coming from pondering subjects and issues Guare brings up rather than from how the playwright handles them dramatically or the director attempts to put them on stage. Wager’s production accomplishes nothing. It is disjointed and without a consistent pace or central focus. Juspin Jones gives impressive performances as both Cornet’s slave, Murmur, and Haitian hero and would-be liberator Toussaint Louverture. Good work is also turned in by Savannah Jackson as the wife of Cornet’s stepbrother, K.O. DelMarcelle as a French woman with an intellectual bent her husband disdains, and James A. Reilly as the resentful, plotting stepbrother. David Lawrence Glover gives as much depth as Wager will let him to Cornet’s doctor and friend, Dr. Toubib. Guillermo Alonso has some witty moments as Napoleon. A more thoughtful, more careful production may not be able to rescue Guare’s play from its own sheer mass, but one could make it more enlightening and instructive. As it stands, Wager’s “Free Man” was an exercise in theatrical futility (as opposed to a trenchant look at human futility). Overall grade: D


matilda --interiorMATILDA — National Tour at Academy of Music, Philadelphia, through November 29 — Amazing, isn’t it, that every one of Roald Dahl’s children’s stories feature kids who are being mistreated, neglected, and denigrated and that every one of Dahl’s books, especially “Matilda,” “James and the Giant Peach,” and “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” are such children’s favorites? Of course, all of the lead characters, such as Matilda, triumph wonderfully in the end, but Dahl rakes children through scenes of horror, degradation, humiliation, assault on self-worth, and mortal danger before granting them their due, which sometimes means a kid being turned into a blueberry or being reduced to the size and thickness of a postage stamp. Yet, Dahl is wildly popular, and this musical version of “Matilda” with a book by Dennis Kelly and music and lyrics by Tim Minchin benefits from Dahl’s lionization. From a theatrical point of view, it deserves its international audience and international praise. Director Matthew Warchus and choreographer Peter Darling show much theatrical creativity in their exciting staging of Kelly and Minchin’s work. Some of “Matilda’s” sequences go on far too long and wear out their welcome, but the general story about a literate, precocious five-year-old who retains her courage and self-esteem against all odds comes off as interesting and entertaining with several effects that enhance Dahl’s deliciously sarcastic way of presenting his material. The touring production seems broader than its New York counterpart and much less harsh than the London original. Miss Trunchbull was genuinely monstrous and dreaded in London, truly fearsome. Now she’s just as comic a figure as she is a person to summon horror at the mention of her name or sound of her earth-shaking footfall. Matilda’s parents were even more dismissive in New York and London than they are on the American road. This softening takes some of the bite and enjoyment from “Matilda.” It seems more sardonic than caustic or tough, but it continues to entertain, and that’s the main thing. Mabel Tyler, one of three who portray Matilda on tour, is a loveable, believable actress who makes you like Matilda and genuinely root for her to have a better childhood. After all, when we meet Matilda, we hear her Crunchem classmates singing how their parents think they are miracles, the smartest people in the world, the cutest, the most talented, the prettiest, name your positive adjective. Then we see Matilda being called an idiot, teased for reading, reprimanded for not watching television, and being told she is no good mistake no one wanted when she was conceived and no one wants now. Especially if she is going to be so different from the rest of her family and most of the children at Crunchem. “Matilda” is about a perceptive girl trying to find her way to happiness against all odds. Tyler embodies that perception and augments it with unyielding confidence in her intellect. Call her an idiot. She doesn’t mind. She knows better. Besides, she has a teacher and librarian to offer praise and gratification and the savvy to lie when people comment about how proud she must make her family. Not every sequence in Kelly and Minchin’s musical engages. Some seem redundant. But they all show the obstacles Matilda faces as she tries to make things better for herself and the teacher who motivates her and whom she loves. That teacher is played splendidly by Jennifer Blood in the “Matilda” tour. Blood exudes Miss Honey’s goodness so clearly, she becomes another you want to see triumph over mediocrity, withheld emotions, and Miss Trunchbull’s strangling meanness. Bryce Ryness is a spry and sinister Trunchbull. He is amazing as he vaults clean over a gymnastic horse in one scene. Ryness doesn’t strike fear and much as comic dread, but he well represents all children fear from authority, especially authority that will use its position and adult might to subjugate and cow children. When sheer terror is not enough, Ryness’s Trunchbull always has the threat of going to “chokey” to hold over her charges’ heads. Chokey, derived from the colonial Indian word for British jails, is one of Dahl’s more sadomasochistic inventions. It’s a cage in which spikes in the walls and on the floors force a child to stand perfectly still or risk getting impaled. Quinn Mattfeld and Cassie Silva are marvelous as Matilda’s outlandishly portrayed parents. Mattfeld drips the vain, larcenous, status-seeking, anti-intellectual traits that fuel his dismissive, dishonest life. He barely notices Matilda, except to recoil from her constant reading and calls her “boy” most of the time. Silva exudes a different kind of self-absorption, the garish but constant consumer who cares mostly about how she looks and how she’ll fare in her next ballroom dance contest with her partner/lover Rudolpho, played hilariously by Jaquez Andre Sims. Matilda’s mother continues to resent that Matilda’s surprise birth kept her from a major competition. She barely notices her daughter. Or her son, who doesn’t need notice since all he does is live his father’s dream existence and mindlessly spend waking hours watching “telly,” speaking only to repeat inanities. As played by Danny Tieger, Matilda’s brother comes off as what in the pre-enlightened ’60s we would refer to as “retarded.” (Yeah, it’s a word and perfectly descriptive in this context, so get over it, sourpuss!) The children is “Matilda’s” cast are amazing talented, if a tad too self-consciously so. None of the supporting cast has the natural, real-life feel that Tyler projects. The kids are nearly sabotaged by the wretched sound system at the Academy of Music, so their numbers don’t register as much more than dance. Sound designers these days have a habit of overamplifying, i.e. making mikes too hot. That’s why orchestras at the Academy often sound tinny or, worse, recorded instead of live. The kids in “Matilda” all sing in a high-pitched squeal, a register than is more jeopardized by overmiking than lower voices. The combination of overamplification and the children’s pitch obliterates all sound and makes every lyric a child other than Tyler sings totally unintelligible. As a group, the kids in “Matilda” sound like one big infected adenoid that needs to be removed. Worse, any wit Minchin put in his lyrics for the children is lost in the Academy ether. Overall grade: B


mrs. wilson -- coverTHE SECOND MRS. WILSON — George Street Playhouse, New Brunswick, through November 29 — Joe DiPietro’s thought-provoking piece in set in the years 1915 to 1920, years mostly encompassing Woodrow Wilson’s second term as U.S. President, but it more rekindles a period in the mid-20th century when biographical plays about historical figures had sweep and lots of characters to discuss a situation from several angles and who gave you much to listen to. “The Second Mrs. Wilson” always centers on something fascinating. Its main focus is Edith Galt Wilson, the Southern widow with little interest in public affairs, who charms the President, also widowed, and becomes his second wife. As we see Edith’s growing influence and the reaction to it from President Wilson’s inner circle, we see both actual and family politics unfold. On the periphery are such heady subjects as whether the United States should enter World War I, women’s suffrage, the Treaty of Versailles that ends World War I, and the formation of a League of Nations. The last of these issues gets the most attention, but it doesn’t matter. The political questions of Wilson’s day are given excellent treatment by DiPietro. They are thoroughly explained in all of their ramifications. But they serve as a nicely included history lesson that gives insight to the role of Edith Wilson in her husband’s and America’s political life. Woodrow Wilson has a debilitating stroke in 1919, and Edith, keeping the President isolated and personally determining who can and can’t see him, including the Vice President, members of Congress, and cabinet officials, also speaks for the President and defines his policy. She is arguably, though unelected, the first woman president of the United States, a line George Street Playhouse uses in its promotions for “Mrs. Wilson.” Gordon Edelstein’s direction is terrific. Gathering important characters on Alexander Dodge’s brilliant set that sumptuously suggests various rooms in the White House at once, Edelstein ekes every bit of drama and clarity from DiPietro’s sound and entertaining text. The byplay among government leaders is reminiscent of the wonderful repartee and insight of Gore Vidal’s “The Best Man.” You see the political and ethical dynamics of Washington circa 1916, and you’re struck by how little has changed. Except, perhaps, for the quality of thought the officials display and the dignity with which they carry themselves. Neither the men in this play nor Mrs. Wilson leave you with the disenfranchised “none of the above” feeling you get from the crop of Presidential candidates offered to us a century later, i.e. now! As much is intelligently debated by characters portrayed with magnetism by a splendid cast, you always have the presence of Edith Wilson, and her desire to fulfill her husband’s greatest intentions, coloring the proceedings. Edith is a wonder. When we first see her, she is all charm and social skill. She barely knows where Serbia is let alone how the assassination of an Archduke in Sarajevo can trigger a massive European conflict. She hardly remembers the Presidents who preceded Woodrow Wilson into office and takes no interest in politics or current events. Mr. Wilson falls in love with Edith. The feeling mutual, but the relationship is problematic given that Mr. Wilson is the U.S. President. Like Edward VIII two decades later, he can marry whom he chooses but he has to consider what his choice means politically and how various factions will react to it. Love prevails, and Edith doesn’t delve into politics as much as she connects by osmosis to her husband’s position. To be the wife she wants to be, Edith has to understand Woodrow’s mind and share what troubles him. This invites more involvement into Woodrow’s political world and the making of friends and enemies, one of whom is regarded differently by Woodrow than he is by Edith, and entry into partisanship and Washington affairs. DiPietro and Edelstein keep Edith’s progress fascinating. Of course, they have the magnificent assistance of Laila Robins, the actress who may qualify as the least known, most-unsung artist working in American theater today. Robins is never short of excellent, but she goes beyond great in bringing Edith Wilson to the stage. Her grace in early scenes is matched by her steely resolve and sense that she, as the guardian of the President, is equal to any Senator, cabinet officer, world leader, or Vice President. This attitude, expressed so brilliantly, at a time when women were newly granted the right to vote. Robins is subtle in her approach. Her style is so natural, and so unidentified with specific roles, you see her living Edith Wilson as opposed to acting her. Robins is surrounded by actors of compatible gifts, so whatever charm or fire she exudes, she finds a match, a foil, or an appreciative husband returning her honesty and cunning. John Glover is both Presidential and human as Mr. Wilson. He endows the 28th President with humor that runs counter in a refreshing way to the image we usually have of the man. Glover shows range as he plays an energetic and addled Wilson. He is particularly touching in scenes in which Mr. Wilson realizes and tries to fight his decline. Great performances are turned in by Sherman Howard as Mr. Wilson’s prime adversary, Sen. Henry Cabot Lodge, by Richmond Hoxie as Mr. Wilson’s ignored Vice President, Thomas Marshall, who believes he should be instated as the 29th President given the extent of damage of Mr. Wilson’s mentality, and by Stephen Baker Turner as the doctor and political liaison who is by Mr. Wilson’s side during his fight to institute the League of Nation and insure America’s membership in it. Michael McGrath provides good change of pace as Mr. Wilson’s scrappy, streetwise assistant, Joe Tumulty. Stephen Spinella conveys dignity, hurt, and regret as Mr. Wilson’s closest advisor, Edward House, one who loses favor as he tries to educate Edith Wilson in an unwanted art, compromise. Edelstein’s production doesn’t grab you as much it keeps you constantly interested in the discussion at hand and involved in taking sides. DiPietro remains faithful to history, perhaps in ways that precluded him from giving extra drama or embellishment to some situations, and uses his prodigious skill as a writer to keep “The Second Mrs. Wilson” urgent and consequential even when scenes contained more exposition or clarifying debate than raw conflict or drama. Overall grade: A-


THE THREE MUSKETEERS: THE LATER YEARS, A Musical Panto People’s Light & Theatre Company, Malvern, through January 10 — Pantos take liberties, but this takeoff on “The Three Musketeers” lacks engaging plot and seems more like a by-the-seat-of-the-pants hodgepodge than a well-conceived cogent entertainment. Scene after scene looks as if it was thought up at the spot. Except for the “All For One” number that ends the second act, no sequence has a core that invites you to do more than watch and see what mildly amusing gambit writer Kathryn Petersen, composer Michael Ogborn, and director Pete Pryor are trying next. Several performances woo you to more than idle, respectful auditing of the play. Dito Van Reigersberg is appealingly adorable as a king’s dog that becomes the ostensible hero of this piece. Leah Walton gives her housemaid of a chicken enough quirkiness to make her register beyond the ordinary, and costumers Bridget Brennan and Anita Kleckner help by making witty web-footed boots for Walton to tap dance in. Laura Giknis provides some moments of intensity as rebel falcon who has second thoughts about defecting. Tabitha Allen is truly funny as a young king who cannot concentrate on policy because he is too addicted to the games and movies on his tablet. Mark Lazar is, as always, quick with a one-liner and elegantly bathetic as this panto’s dame. These good performances cannot make up for a weak story that seems to be made up as it goes along. Petersen has been so clever in constructing People’s Light’s pantos. It looks as if this time, she just listed in the elements needed — vivid, anthropomorphic characters, a conflict between a likeable hero and a dastardly villain, passages where the dame can ad lib to the house, and the distribution of candy, including Three Musketeers mini-bars — and settled their place in the show without giving strength or coherence to the plot. Ogborn’s music is typically lively, but the lyrics aren’t up to usual par. This “Three Musketeers” is too disjointed to engage. I think my most advanced thought throughout it how good Pete Pryor, who plays the villain, and Robert Smythe, who plays an instructive D’Artagnan, look with hair. I wanted to and worked at liking this show more. I could appreciate the creativity that went into making it. But I have long stood for a strong story to dominate anything else, and this “Three Musketeers” is a collection of half-baked bits that do no credit to Alexandre Dumas and his eponymous heroes and fails to get past the category “at times mildly amusing; at least once rallying to exuberance. Overall grade: C-


UNDERNEATH THE LINTEL — Lantern Theater, Philadelphia, through December 6 — Glen Berger’s confection of a wild but enlightening goose chase promulgated by a long-overdue library book gets bright and welcome treatment by Peter de Laurier in Kathryn MacMillan’s excellent production. Berger blends a zany sense of humor and a talent for both surprise and bathos with a serious engrossing tale of one A. who took a book, a Baedeker’s Guide, from a small-town Netherlands library in 1873 and doesn’t return it until 1986. And then, through the overnight slot sans the hefty or, as De Laurier’s librarian puts it, “pretty fine.” The mysterious borrower entices the librarian to track him down, a quest that takes him to various countries and involves in numerous situations that are unsettling and enlightening for someone who previously left his village only one, for an excursion to Gouda on a day the cheese factories were closed. Berger deftly juxtaposes humor, sentiment, and genuine mystery as he unfolds his shaggy dog tale. DeLaurier picks up and runs with every cue as he plays the librarian giving a lecture about travels and discoveries that include seeing “Les Misérables” in several languages in several cities. “I like ‘Les Misérables’,” the librarian says sheepishly. DeLaurier never lets his lecture flag, and Berger always finds ways to amuse such as having a surprise ending for series of three or creating some complicated pickle for the librarian to get out of. “Underneath the Lintel” is a satisfying show that has both meat on his bones and entertainment value on its soul. Peter DeLaurier makes it a delight. Overall grade: A




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