Reviewed by Tony Annicone
2nd Story Theatre’s latest show is “The Best of Everything”, by Julie Kramer is the adaptation of Rona Jaffe’s 1958 novel. It shows how young women were treated in a paperback publishing company when men ruled the roost. The lone female editor is 36 year old Miss Farrow. The original novel electrified women back then at a look at the lives of these five young women who are employees of this firm. This show captures the incisive look at the personal and professional struggles these women faced and at times still face.
This script brings it to colorful theatrical life with sympathy, wit, intelligence and love. It has some light moments sprinkled in this bittersweet play. Kira Hawkridge infuses her 8 member cast with the energy and insight to pull off these women of the past. Kira uses music between the episodic play to help explain the storyline. Ron Cesario’s 1950’s costumes are fabulous and brings the audience right back to the 1950’s.
Kerry Giorgi plays Caroline, a Radcliffe graduate who is interested in her career after her boyfriend dumps her for another woman. She starts off meek and mild and later on commands the stage when she finally reaches her goal. Her interactions with the whole cast is astounding. Kerry is onstage for the whole 100 minute show and her character is described as smart and ambitious several times during the show. They discuss sex, marriage, relationships and how women can only be secretaries. Jennifer Michaels as Mary Agnes and Rachael Perry as Brenda are both getting married. Mary Agnes is the gossip of the group while Brenda is a bit of a cheapskate. Melanie Stone as sexy April and Valerie Westgate as Gregg are the social butterflies of the girls. Both of them experience tragic events in their lives that startle the audience. Valerie sings “Good Morning Heartache” which foreshadows later events. Rae Mancini tackles the role of the no nonsense, Amanda Farrow, an editor. She can be tough as nails to get what she wants. David Sackal as Eddie, plays this man with charm but also an inner deviousness and deceptiveness at his treatment of Caroline. Eddie is a bit of a cad, too. The other men in the show are excellently portrayed by David Nando Rogers who makes each character different from the other, from a religious editor to a chauvinistic pig to a nice guy. So for a serious look back at the work place of the 1950’s, be sure to catch “The Best of Everything” at 2nd Story Theatre.
THE BEST OF EVERYTHING (5 to 28 May)
2nd Story Theatre, 28 Market St, Warren, RI
1(401)247-4200 or www.2ndstorytheatre.com