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Mary, Mary
a Comedy
by Jean Kerr

COMPANY : The Underground Theatre [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Atlanta
ID# 4257

SHOWING : March 08, 2012 - March 17, 2012



The Underground Theatre presents the Broadway hit comedy "Mary, Mary," a warm and witty portrayal of a marriage gone hilariously awry. In this sparkling romantic comedy by Jean Kerr, a newly-divorced couple meet over taxes, and sparks fly all over again. Marriage, divorce, taxes, health and fitness, sex — all are subjects of fun in this irreverent comedy by on of America’s most celebrated twentieth century humorists. Cast members Daniel VanHiel, Bob Winstead, Stephanie Keating, Richard Dillon and Jessica Thompson bring warmth and laughter to this comic tour de force.

Director Dante Santacroce
Oscar Nelson Richard Dillon
Tiffany Richards Stephanie Keating
Mary McKellaway Jessica Thompson
Bob McKellaway Daniel VanHiel
Dirk Winston Bob Winstead
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Merry, Merry
by playgoer
Sunday, March 18, 2012
Jean Kerr's "Mary, Mary" was one of the most popular Broadway comedies of the early 60's. The Underground Theatre's production is showing Atlanta why.

Aside from one baffling updated reference to Joan Rivers, the script stays true to the 1960's. Costumes show an occasional hint of 60's style (especially Tiffany's green coat with fur collar), but are generally of the timeless variety. We get the idea that the show is taking place in an earlier time, but nothing makes the locale seem remote. Director Dante Santacroce has wisely chosen to let the play speak for itself rather than become a museum piece of 1960's kitsch.

Casting makes the show work as well as it does. Jessica Thompson is a revelation as Mary, making each line and emotion work. It's not necessarily an easy role to play; it requires sharp-tongued witticisms to alternate with sincerity, and Ms. Thompson makes the most of the role. Stephanie Keating has a difficult role too, as young socialite Tiffany, who has taken up with Mary's ex-husband Bob simply because he hasn't instantly fallen for her looks and upbeat charm. Ms. Keating isn't perhaps young or pretty enough to fit the cookie-cutter image of Tiffany, but she brings consistency and energy to the role.

The men are also well-cast. Richard Dillon, Jr. sells every laugh as avuncular Oscar in act one. He comes across as a bit more tentative in act three, but it's a fine performance overall. Bob Winstead has chosen to play fading movie star Dirk Winston as a soft-spoken, pencil-mustached Hollywood Lothario. His voice is sometimes too low in volume for the small playing space, but his weaselly come-ons to Mary come across loud and clear, and he manages to get through the play as generally sympathetic. Daniel VanHiel's Bob is entirely sympathetic, and his comedy (especially the physical comedy) is great. The cast work together well and keep the show moving, even in spite of two full-length intermissions.

The set works well from most angles of the three-sided playing area. It contains all the necessary furnishings, while relegating offstage places (kitchen, front door, and bedroom) to three different exits from the room. It's the most attractive set I've seen at The Underground Theatre and works extremely well.

Director Dante Santacroce has done justice to what is billed in the program as "a witty, romantic comedy. "Mary, Mary, how does your garden grow?" With witty prose and heart that glows and audiences lined up in a row! [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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