Reviewed by Gail M. Burns, June, 1999
Victory Street Productions launched their career with an outrageous audience participation comedy staged at the PNA back in April. An auspicious beginning for the new Adams-based community theatre group. Love it or hate it, "Tony 'n' Tina's Wedding" got right in your face, in your lap, and under your skin.
So it is a little disappointing that their second offering falls back on standard community theatre fare - a selection of one-act plays and vignettes about the war between the sexes. But director Thorman Hulse has once again brought community theatre solidly into the community by staging the show at The Corner Lunch, where "legal beverages" and snacks are available during the two intermissions.
No designer could build as delightful a backdrop for the action as the decor of the Corner Lunch. No wonder proprietors Dick and Joan Carrigan have been in business on the corner of Spring and Summer Streets (a theatrical address if there ever was one!) for over 20 years. Their hospitality, the big photographic mural of a woodland lake, and their many mounted fish, mix well with the 1950's metal diner stools, plastic tablecloths and floral wallpaper to create an ambience beyond the ken of the corporate types who design interiors for fast-food franchises.
Under the lakeside mural Hulse, J. R. Belanger, Megan Charbonneau, Veronica Martins, and Sarah Sullivan bring to life short pieces by a wide variety of playwrights - from Noel Coward to Comden and Green. In recent months I have seen all of these performers in other local productions, and have been favorably impressed. Martins and Charbonneau were a hoot in "Tony 'n' Tina", and Sullivan delivered a fine performance in Town Players recent production of Arthur Miller's "A View From The Bridge".
I was less impressed with Belanger the first time I saw him, but he grew on me considerably last night. He is young and learning, but he is a trooper and he managed some really nice comic moments. My hat is off to him for delivering a nice performance under difficult circumstances in "Restaurant" by Dan Greenberg.
But the women continued to impress. Martins is a fine character actress with the ability to wear amazingly short skirts in public. I enjoyed the many voices and characterizations she brought to the stage, and I am very envious of the silver sneaker roller skates she wore in "The Lonely Machine" by Jules Feifer.
Charbonneau is very good at playing haughty bitches, and just when I was afraid she was not going to be allowed to play anything else for the entire evening she delivered some lovely moments in softer, more feminine roles.
Sullivan had her moment to shine opposite Hulse in the opening piece of the evening, "Postcards" by James Prideaux. This was a sweet story of a man and a woman who for two decades have done nothing but write postcards to famous people, tossing them out of the window for passers-by to find and mail for them.
In what I hope will be Victory Street's long history, this show may not stand out as their finest effort, but it is a pleasant diversion for a summer's evening, and a chance to see some good local talent up close. In a summer when north Berkshire is being inundated with big name stars at the WTF and the thrill of the new at Mass MoCA, it is important to continue to support the cultural base that made our communities appealing to all these big names and big ideas in the first place.
"The Eternal Triangle" produced by Victory Street Productions, runs June 4, 5, 11 & 12 at The Corner Lunch, 50 Summer Street (corner of Spring and Summer) in Adams. The show runs about two hours with two intermissions and is suitable for all ages. For tickets and information call 413-743-9319.
copyright Gail M. Burns, 1999