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Whatever Happened to the Villa Real? Residents of the country inn Villa Real meet and meddle, and learn a bit about human nature, while rocking on the raised wide porch. Playwright Jeannette Clift George is not only playwright, starring actor and the play's director, but also the play's producer as artistic director of A.D. Players. The good news is that George is a highly skilled, deft actor with huge charm, and she etches an indelible portrait of a woman at the age when a walker is found useful. She endows "Clarice Moffatt" with vivacity, wit and a wicked sense of humor — no wonder that a younger man is intrigued by her. The younger man, played by Andrew George Barrett, is "Perry Rockdale," who has graduated from Dartmouth with honors, but has a physical handicap resulting in a limp; Barrett finds his enthusiasm and naiveté and makes him likable, and their rhythm together is admirable. Ric Hodgin is a doctor with a working moral compass, Christy Watkins and Patty Tuel Bailey are nosy parkers of the first order, and a trio serves as the focal point of their inquiries: Craig Griffin, Sarah Cooksey and Katharine Hatcher. Marijane Vandivier as the inn manager completes the cast, which never quite achieves ensemble acting. The play could use some strengthening — the sisters are sketched with a heavy hand, and the Dartmouth grad needs elaboration. The rocking chairs may be too seductive — a few firecrackers under that veranda might speed things up. The work will be savored most by those of "a certain age," but its humor and charm will ensure that these patrons truly enjoy it. Though the drama is far from explosive, the comedy is rich and the wit often brilliant, enhanced further by a stunning performance by Jeannette Clift George. Through March 25. Grace Theatre, 2710 W. Alabama, 713-526-2721. — JJT

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