Friday, February 15, 2013

As Bees In Honey Drown A Play by Douglas Carter Beane

As Bees In Honey Drown
A Play by Douglas Carter Beane
Directed by Joey DeMita
January 25-27
F.U.D.G.E. Theatre Company
At the Factory on Tremont Street

Review by Zvi A. Sesling

This is my second encounter with The F.U.D.G.E. Theatre Company having first seen their production of Parade in October. The current production of As Bees In Honey Drown is a marvelous adaptation, directed by Joey DeMita who also directed Parade.

What DeMita brings to the performance is minimalist staging, the ability to work with few props and instilling a superb sense of timing by his actors. The play follows Alexa Vere De Vere deliciously portrayed by Linda Goetz. Alexa is a grifter
who seduces everyone with her English charm, runs up their credit cards and disappears from their lives as quickly as their credit card is maxed. She plies her unique talent on a number of fawning victims, the last of whom is Evan Wyler, a young somewhat naive writer. He has completed his first novel and is searching for new material when Alexa sinks her conning claws into his psyche. Even though Evan prefers men, he falls for Alexa – hook, line and credit card.

As the play unfolds, we learn of Alexa’s previous conquests: Kaden, the recording mogul, Mike, the artist and Illya. Each remains silent about being “sucked into” Alexa’s wiles because of their embarrassment. However, as wily as Alexa is, Evan, who has been educated about Alexa’s talents, exacts revenge by writing a tell-all book. As Alexa says in the play’s best line: “Maybe writers get the last word because they know so many of them.”
One scene is reminiscent of Donizetti’s spectacular sextet in the opera Lucia di Lammermoor. Various characters vent their anger until six soloists release their fury. In this play, the actors have a multi-line telephone conversation starting with one and adding until all are saying something different, all five speaking simultaneously. It takes talent to complete this without error, and these actors are more than capable of handling the difficulty.
As for the actors, Linda Goetz makes a perfect Alexa Vere De Vere, with English accent, body language and hand motions to match her delectable on stage persona. About eighty percent of the dialogue in the play is spoken by Goetz’ flawless and entertaining delivery. As the center of play she is terrific.

As I was exiting the theater I heard someone remark “Evan Wyler looks too young, so is not convincing.” But I would offer that is exactly the role Ryan MacPherson is supposed to play. Younger than Alexa, easily impressionable and captivated by a woman for the first time, he does a competent job as Wyler.
Frank Consolo is a true scene stealer. As the haberdasher, he plays the stereotyped gay with humor that even the most ardent opponent of stereotyping would enjoy. He flips from his gay role to ruffian portrayal in the manner of Bobcat Goldthwaite and finally plays Mike, a gay artist who lived with Alexa when she was Brenda, a New York nobody. Consolo brings a convincing earnestness to his roles.
Ross Brown comes alive as a big time recording executive talking realism to Wyler’s fantasy of Alexa. He tells of his own embarrassment and acts the way you would expect a thirty something seemingly big shot exec to act.
Julia Bailey has a certain grace, a dancer’s movement in the way she glides in and out of the scenes. Coupled with her winning smiles, she too fits her multiple roles enthusiastically and blends easily with the other actors.
Mimi Augustin provides facial expressions better than most well-known actors I have seen. Playing several roles does not mean she sloughs them off; on the contrary she is hilarious as the male physique-loving secretary to the record exec, and others.
Joey DeMita, whose direction I have seen twice, is a top notch director who pays attention to the message of the play, assuring the actors are well rehearsed with impeccable timing.
F.U.D.G.E. is one of the better acting groups in greater Boston, and perhaps they will bring back As Bees In Honey Drown so the play will be enjoyed by an even wider audience.
Zvi A. Sesling
Reviewer, Boston Area Small Press and Poetry Scene
Author, King of the Jungle and Across Stones of Bad Dreams
Editor, Muddy River Poetry Review
Editor, Bagel Bards Anthology 7
Editor, Bagel Bards Anthology 8

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