by Clifford Graham, Monday Missile Dot Coza
This intriguing play revealing the "inside" story of life in the theatre world, told in terms of an unscrupulous ingénue's rise to stardom has a way of gripping an audience with it’s many twists and turns.
Many an actor will perhaps relate to an episode in their own experience. The original script for the film “All About Eve” was based on a short story by Mary Orr which first appeared in Cosmopolitan magazine in May 1946. Later it was adapted for stage by Mary Orr and Reginald Denham. From the first to last scenes it fascinates.
Director Celia Musikanth has for this production assembled a cast which in every way are worthy of the challenges of the piece. In performance the play relies heavily of the ability of an actor carry the characters many and constantly varying facets.
Of particular note in this regard were Julie Summers, as the actress Margo Crane and Brian Notcutt as the theatre impresario Clement Howell. These two seasoned actors come to the fore in consummate performances; not surprising given their impressive credentials. David Muller as the companies' stage manager Harvey makes a welcome appearance. As Eve Harrington the seemingly innocent and helpful theatre enthusiast, Erica Schofield took a little while to find her feet in this demanding role, but by half way through the first act she had established a firm grip on the character. Kirsty Cunnington as Karen Roberts the sometimes narrator and wife of the playwright Lloyd Roberts (Nigel Stephenson) gave a very skilled performance.
Celia Musikanth and set designer Jane Philbrick have cleverly chosen a simply arranged set that fits the play very well. A script of this nature can only benefit from an uncluttered environment. Interlude music was well chosen and lighting, while a little dark at times complimented well.
The Wisdom of Eve has been on director Celia Musikanth’s “bucket list” for quite some time. This is her second staging of the play, the first being on the boards in a tiny church hall in Muizenberg in 1998. One can easily see her attraction to the play and all the challenges it presents.
On opening night there were a few minor glitches which were entirely forgivable given the power of the piece and some very strong performances by the cast.