Capsule Stage Reviews: May 29, 2014

Capsule reviews by Jim J. Tommaney

Heartbreak House George Bernard Shaw's Heartbreak House, set in 1913, is a wonderful comedy of delightful cynicism. The setting is the large estate of Captain Shotover, excellently played by Charles Krohn. Shotover savors his rum, and is forgetful, but is often wise, except for wanting to blow up the world. Shotover's older daughter, Hesione Hushabye, is portrayed by Celeste Roberts, in a truly magnificent performance, commanding the stage with charm. She's married to the dashingly handsome Hector Hushabye, played by Joe Kirkendall, who makes the most of the role. Ellie Dunn (Joanna Hubbard) has been invited to the estate in order for Hesione to dissuade her from marrying Boss Mangan (Jim Salners), an older man who's apparently very wealthy. Salners is outstanding, handling a complex role with dexterity. Ellie is marrying for security, but is really in love with a man who turns out to be...Hector. Shotover's younger daughter left decades ago, but returns as Lady Ariadne Utterword. Portrayed by Elizabeth Marshall Black, she is beautiful, and is drawn to Hector, and he to her. Ellie is accompanied by Mazzini Dunn, assumed to be her father, though in fact he's her uncle. Ariadne arrived with her husband's younger brother, Randall Utterword (Joel Sandel), a tearful wreck of a human being. A rather clumsy third act, rather than wrapping things up, dynamites us into a different play resembling Theatre of the Absurd. But nothing can spoil the rich joy of the first two acts as a witty, mischievous playwright makes serious points about human nature and the idiocy of the upper classes. Director Rebecca Greene Udden has found the comedy's rich humor and sardonic wit. Through June 1. Main Street Theater, 2540 Times Boulevard, 713-524-6706. — JJT


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