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By Elizabeth Youngman Westphal
Special to the Village News 

'How the Other Half Loves'

 

Last updated 4/20/2018 at 10:14pm

Aaron Rumley

Fiona Foster (Jacquelyn Ritz) explains away her evening's exploits to husband Frank (James Newcomb).

Tucked in the back of a parking lot on the East side of I-5 in Solana Beach sits a noteworthy house of theatre. North Coast Rep is wrapping up its 36th season featuring David Ellenstein as Artistic Director for the past 16.

What that really means over these past years is he has developed a bit of clout in the make-believe world of play acting. Otherwise, he would not have been able to lure Geoffrey Sherman to direct in his little playhouse.

Mr. Sherman's resume is exemplary and esteemed on both sides of the pond. One of his most highly praised attributes is his ability to disappear behind his direction allowing the words to appear as truth from each performer. It is the truest art form and remains the intent of all live theatre.

As three sophisticated couples in "How the Other Half Loves" are entrenched in intrigue and weave a merry tale of infidelity, the audience is treated to uncanny timing and urbane behavior as well as inimitable blocking exhibiting multiple households.

Charming and witty, "How the Other Half Loves" is still performed as it was originally. 1968. Why, know not I. The wardrobe while authentic to the period (and pristine) in no way enhances the production any more than a need for British accents. Both are a bit unnecessary (and perhaps get in the way) and in no way advance the superlative performance by all six of the actors. They, each in their own way, sparkle.

Sherman's deft guidance interprets the script brilliantly by allowing reaction to be the moving force behind the words.

Written as a true ensemble piece for his own troupe in Northern England, Sir Alan Ayckbourn wrote each part equal to the others. There isn't a lead. No individual player is more important than any other.

Aaron Rumley

More intrigue as Bob (Christopher Williams), Fiona (standing/Jacquelyn Ritz) and Mary Featherstone (Noelle Marion) watch Frank Foster (James Newcomb) explain to William (Benjamin Cole) the simplicity of the situation.

The first actor on stage is Frank Foster (James Newcomb) as the bumbling husband to the classy Fiona Foster (Jacquelyn Ritz). Upper crust and all that, we enjoy morning coffee with this well-born successful duo.

The hung-over Bob Phillips (Christopher M. Williams) is married to Teresa (Sharon Rietkerk), an overwrought mother/wife of an up and coming businessman. Rietkerk's banter cuts through her husband's babble and rebukes him while maintaining her poise.

To round out the trifecta of twosomes are the Featherstones, William (Benjamin Cole) and Mary (Noelle Marion). Young, polished and captivatingly naïve, they embody the epitome of untainted ardor.

"How the Other Half Loves" by Sir Alan Ayckbourn is now playing until May 13 at North Coast Rep, 987 Lomas Santa Fe Drive, Suite D. With multiple performances weekly, be sure to grab a seat by contacting the box office at (858) 481-, http://www.NorthCoastRep.org.

Rating 9.5 out of 10.

The writer can be contacted at eyoungman@reedermedia.com

 

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