Lamb’s Players production of “Ring Around the Moon,” a delightful farce by Christopher Fry, was adapted from the play “La Invitation au Chateau” by Jean Anouilh. It is expertly directed by the talented team of Robert and Deborah Gilmour Smyth.
A brilliant ensemble cast acted out the story of identical twin brothers, Hugo and Frederic , who are exact opposites of each other; Frederic is shy and unsure of himself while Hugo is mean and conniving. The story traces their interactions with a variety of characters in what might be labeled as a madcap love story.
“Ring Round the Moon” calls for split second timing and the ability to convey two distinct personalities. Needless to say Hugo is totally attractive to women and overly confident. Brian Mackey lives up to the challenges of the dual roles.
The play begins with a lovely chanteuse who not only plays the violin admirably but has a beautiful vocal range. She is also heard during the play performing on the guitar while singing. Angela Chatelain Avila tackles the role with aplomb.
The role of Diana, the rich spoiled heiress and protagonist is played skillfully by Rachel Van Wormer. Diana is drawn to Hugo even though engaged to Frederic. The interplay between all of them is a sight to watch and enjoy.
The excellent choreography is due to the efforts of Donny Gersonde, Siri Hafso, and Deborah Gilmour Smyth, along with special attention to detail of the fight choreography by Jordan Miller. The choreography is vital to the telling of the story.
Lady India, played by Siri Hafso, is a good dancer and comedic actress. She is paired with another excellent dancer and actor Donny Gersond as Patrice whose scenes with Hugo are quite hilarious especially when he is the fall guy.
Deborah Gilmour Smyth gives a sterling performance as the disabled Dowager Countess Madame Desmortes. Her character is the aunt of Hugo and Frederic. She tries to bring Frederic out of his shell while chastising Hugo for his unacceptable behavior. She shows her great acting ability not only in a serious vein but also when the part calls for her to deliver punchlines which become significant to the theme of the play.
Cynthia Gerber gives another excellent performer as Capulet who attends to the Countess. She is delightfully funny.
One of the more hilarious parts is David Mc Bean’s interpretation of Joshua. He has good comedic timing and is a delight to watch.
Manny Fernandez delivers another powerfully funny performance as Messerschmann, Diane’s wealthy father, who lived the rags to riches story. Due to that, he believes he can influence anyone by offering them money. He finally meets his match when he fails at an attempt with Isabelle, the romantic interest hired by Hugo to cause havoc at the gathering. Joy Yvonne Jones plays Isabelle and is convincing in her part as one who can’t be bought. Her flamboyant mother is memorable as played by Yolanda Marie Franklin. Both roles call for not only comedic talent but supplying pathos and realism to the storyline. The two actresses were up to the challenge.
John K. Lang, in his role of the footman, does an admirable job.
As usual, John Rosen gives another stellar performance. His crazy antics as Romanville add much flavor to the play. He is riveting and hysterically funny in his role.
The wonderful incidental music was composed by Francis Poulenc, Django Reinhardt, Jacob Gade, Astor Piazzola, Gerardo Rodriguez, Harry Tierney, Louigui / Piaf, and Jean Lenior.
No play can go on successfully without a hardworking behind the scenes crew. Kudos go to all of them.
Of special note were the scenic designs done by Mike Buckley which are especially relevant to the story and are very realistic.
The costumes designed by Jeanne Keith added authenticity to the play. Nathan Pierson handled the lighting design which was an integral part of the set.Rachel Hengst had the important job of handling properties and Maria Mangiavellano handled the vital job as stage manager.
My advice is see this theatrical treat as soon as you can. It runs through Nov. 17.
The next show is the annual Festival of Christmas which will appeal to the entire family. It will run Dec. 5-29.