I’ve given this production of The Ladies of the Corridor the Shakespeare Card Rating: Queen – Catherine of Aragon, although it could almost could fall into the realm of Jack. This is not because of the play itself, by Dorothy Parker / Arnaud d’ Usseau. While not an amazing play (probably a strong “average” queen rating in itself) there are enough good qualities to make it a decent piece of theatre – if done well. But yup, it’s another queen rating.
The “if done well” part is where this production by the Peccadillo Theatre Company falters. I was pretty disappointed in some of the actors. Outside of an amazing performance by the relatively unknown Peggy Cowles, the actors on stage seemed to be just going through the lines. Positive acknowledgement should also be given to Ron Bagden, Domenica Cameron-Scorsese and Libby George for taking it up a notch. However, the relationship between the main characters of Lulu Ames and Paul Osgood was not convincing, nor was Lulu’s relationship with her good friend Connie Mercer genuine.
But what really pushed this production down were the lackluster design choices by the scenic and lighting designers. Perhaps this is what comes when your scenic designer’s credits include “The 2006 Shamu Show” at Sea World Adventure Park and “The Ultimate Holiday Wish List” on the Cartoon Network. Ok, that was mean, but the scenic design didn’t do anything for the action onstage or even correlate with the feel of the show. The lighting design was bad. The lights created distracting shadows, poor indication of time of day and bad coloring. My favorite lighting boo boo was when character Mildred Tynan goes to jump out the window – she swings open the window in an intense scene and there is a big old blue gelled fresnel glaring at the audience. Very realistic.