Sunday, June 5, 2011

Arms and the Man entertains at Seattle Public

Seattle Public Theater is wrapping up its 2010-11 season with a hilarious production of George Bernard Shaw's Arms and the Man. The show, directed by the company's artistic director Shana Bestock, kept the audience in stitches with its brisk pacing and fine performances from a cast of wonderful local talents.

Anne Kennedy Brady as Raina Petkoff
and Ryan Childers as Sergius Saranoff
in Arms and the Man at Seattle Public
Theater. Photo: Paul Bestock.
I wonder why we don't see more Shaw on Seattle stages. I recall a particularly wonderful production of Arms at Intiman about 2002, which featured R. Hamilton Wright and Laurence Ballard. Shaw is such a great wit, and the story of Arms holds up well more than 100 years after it was first produced: Boys meet girls, class lines get all muddied, and everyone mostly lives happily ever after.

Weisenheimer particularly enjoyed the performance of Frank Lawler as the chocolate cream soldier, Captain Bluntschli, a Swiss mercenary soldier who prefers lugging truffles into battle rather than ammo. He was so matter of fact and deadpan about his chickenhearted survival instinct! Bluntschli takes cover from the battle in the boudoir of Raina Petkoff (Anne Kennedy Brady) who is betrothed to Sergius Saranoff (Ryan Childers), a doofus local officer who really has more of an eye for the Petkoff's servant, Louka (Brenda Joyner). Bluntschli's return to the household to return a jacket turns into an extended stay, and all the romantic entanglements get straightened out. Props, too, to Julie Jamieson and Gordon Carpenter as the elder Petkoffs, and to Mark Fullerton who is remarkably straight faced as the butler Nicola.

Arms and the Man, highly recommended, runs at Seattle Public through June 12.

No comments: