Review: Noël Coward’s Rat Makes New York Debut 96 Years Later ( News New York )

It’s not every day that a critic writes in 2022 to review the New York debut of a play by Noël Coward — but it would be the Mint Theater Company that offers the opportunity: The team has fun laughing because of the scandal of lost plays by unknown writers. and to taste the beloved works of the great civilized writers. Rat Trap belongs to this class. This early effort (he was only 18) presents traces of witty dialogue and social commentary that would later mark him as a novel. Private Lives and Design for Living. But we also understand why he never joined the ranks.

It opens on the eve of the wedding of Sheila (Sarin Monae West) and Keld (James Evans). She’s an introspective “lady storyteller” and he’s an emerging storyteller—and they’re terribly in love. They laugh at the married couple Bohemia (Heloise Lowenthal) and Edmund (Ramzi Khalaf), who left their marriage in favor of “free love”. But Sheila’s friend Olive (Elisabeth Gray) has a sense: “When two gorgeous egoists marry, unless one of them is prepared to sacrifice some things, there must be trouble.” Sheila also predicts one future sacrifice, both a woman and the more intelligent of the two.

We know it right from Keld’s instant comment about the “working class” plundering “all the beauty of England.” There is also the disgust with which the mayor, Burrage (Cynthia Mace), responds when he asks what he wants for lunch (as a tip: you can learn a lot about the wisdom of a person, or the lack of it, by the way. He treats the people who bring food). With a name that suggests a sole feeding crustacean, Keld can be nothing more than a rough mediocrity. The whole of West London ends naturally.

Cynthia Mace plays Burrage, and Sarin West plays Noël Coward’s Sheila Rat Trapdirected by Alexander Lass, for the Mint Theater Company of New York at the Center.
(© Todd Hart)

Timid rode with great success Vortex and was on a transatlantic ship to New York to attend the meeting This was a man when Rat Trap he made his London debut in 1926 (he was then 26). Running a total of 12 shows before returning to the bottom drawer of the cabinet where it came from.

He delivered it almost a century later, a competent production mint (directed by Alexander Lass) went up without us convincing him. Rat Trap the gem is lost. But it represents a solid first hit by a writer still finding his own voice, imitating that of George Bernard Shaw. Clever epigrams cleverly spoken over coupes of champagne give way to the spectacle of marital quarrels shouting in the ears of the maid. Even in the early 20th century, it makes sense Rat Trap unless he could ever have set a slight tremor in the case of Shaw and Ibsen.

West leads the cast with a sympathetic and robust portrayal of Sheila, full of character insight, who nevertheless refuses to see the trap she happily jumps into (love can do that). Evans seems rather unreasonable at this, as Keld’s boredom is being delivered, at the same time urgent and overjoyed. Playing the narcissistic actor (and other visible female) Ruby Raymond, Claire Saunders is as bubbly as the aforementioned champagne. And most surprisingly, Mace’s maid steals all her scenes with disapproving eyes, and one funny bit in which she serves up a tumultuous cart.

Heloise Lowenthal, Claire Saunders, and Ramzi Khalaf appear in Noël Lazy Rat Trapdirected by Alexander Lass, for the Mint Theater Company of New York at the Center.
(© Todd Hart)

Plenty (by Vicki R. Davis) shines in the budget interval (the two pictures in Sheila and Keld’s studio are nicely touched). Although the set changes are too long, Lass covers them with live performance: In the first act we get the timid song “Forbidden Fruit” (played by Khalaf and Lowenthal). In the second act, there is a notable mention of Ralph Vaughan Williams’ “The Lark Ascending”, which helps to evoke the rural Cornish setting of the final scene (sound design by Bill Toles). Hunter Kaczorowski casts the actors in charming period dress to accentuate the characters (all lipstick and dark bangs, Naomi seems to have acquired her style from the boudoir). As lit by Christiana DeAngelis, the colors take on the warm quality of a fleeting memory.

This is what it is Rat Trap It remains: But it is not in the same order as the better lazy games, but it is by no means a disaster – and his observations about compromises in any marriage are still relevant, somewhat contrary to that. have-it-all deception

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