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Theater Review: West Springfield Students Present Fall Play

West Springfield High School students recently presented The Lady from Maxim’s. Let Patch know what's happening at your school, too.

Photo Credit: John Ariale.
Photo Credit: John Ariale.
By Cynthia Mullins of West Potomac High School

It's a seemingly normal day in Paris. That is, until the lights go up and Dr. Petypon (Forrest Browne) is found unconscious under a couch by his best friend, Mongicourt (Shane Chase) after a night of partying with the can-can dancers at the famed Maxim's club in Paris. Petypon's life takes a turn for the crazy when The Shrimp (Catherine Ariale), a wise cracking can-can dancer from the club, is found in his bed the next morning. He must do whatever he can including putting himself and those around him into ridiculous situations so as not to let his "old boiler" of a wife Gabrielle (Ellen Abood) or his uncle the General (Joshua Elliott) know what is going on.

The West Springfield High School theatre department recently presented the hilarious French farce by George's Feydeau and translated by John Mortimer. Feydeau was the second most popular French playwright after Moliere. Writing over 60 plays, The Lady From Maxim's was one of his most beloved and famous as proven when it received many adaptations including a 1912 silent film, a 1923 Italian film, a 1933 British version, and most recently a 2013 musical version presented at the New York Musical Theatre Festival.

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A play wouldn't be anything without its leads and West Springfield clearly did not disappoint. Ariale, Abood, and Browne as The Shrimp, Gabrielle, and Petypon were some of the most dynamic and well casted characters in high school theatre. All three captivated the audience every time they were on stage and showed full commitment to these hilarious roles. They all were equally impressive with their use of the freezing chair having to stay stuck in what appeared to be difficult positions to hold.

One group in particular that stood out were the Madames played by Emily Becker, Breanna Brown, Mallory Astrow, Shelby Buche, Elaine Stewart, and Maggie Rabe. This ensemble clearly understood how to work together and were a dynamic force to be reckoned with. They were always in character whenever on stage and did not overdo anything or drag the focus when it was not their turn in the spotlight. One actress in particular, Mallory Astrow, left the audience dying of laughter when she accidentally shoved her foot through a chair when trying out the new craze phrase from Paris of, "Cheer up darling, how's your father?"

The actors were all fabulous, but the show wouldn't have been anything without the technical aspects. Sound by Peter McAninch and Morgan Carter was consistently spot on for the entire production. There was never a moment when someone could not be heard or even muffled in the slightest. Every single actor who spoke had their voices projected with clear precision that was refreshing to experience from a high school.

Another impressive feat from this high school was the original choreography by Ellen Abood. The beginning of the show featured a fun pantomime scene of the night at Maxim's before the play begins. The Maxim dancers filed onto the stage and gave a wonderful performance that was choreographed and executed with proper historical technique especially with their hook ups.

Petypon may have had a stressful time dealing with his mountain of lies in this wonderful farce, but the audience at West Springfield's The Lady From Maxim's truly did get a kick out of his unfortunate luck at this exemplary production.

Post your news to Patch boards or events, too! For more information, contact Community Editor Jane Lemons at jane.lemons@patch.com.


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