Monday, November 07, 2011

A Charity Case - off Broadway

I went to a preview of the new play A CHARITY CASE by Wendy Beckett at the Clurman Theatre last week.   Alison Fraser, a two time Tony nominee, Alysia Reiner (Sideways) and Jill Shackner (Les Miserables) are starring in this three hander about a teenager (Shackner) dealing with a difficult adoptive mother (Fraser) and the decision to meet her birthmother (Reiner).   The playwright also directs. 

The best thing this production has going is its design:  scenic by David L Arsenault, with lighting by Travis McHale and costume by Theresa Squire.     The scene attempts us right to a volatile living room in the 1960s, unfortunately the execution of the dialogue gets us lost on the way.   The dialogue is choppy and it's seemingly ad libbed, as if the actresses are just making it up as they go along.    Sometimes, it's just too weird and nonsensical.

Alison Fraser is always a comedic genius, except in this play, we're forced to see her character's darker side and she does a fairly good job with the material at hand.   Unfortunately, her talent is not matched by her co-stars.   Fortunately, it's always good to see Alison Fraser on a stage.

The playing schedule for A CHARITY CASE is as follows: Tuesdays at 7pm, Wednesdays through Saturdays at 8pm, with matinees on Saturday at 2pm and Sundays at 3PM. Tickets are $35. For tickets call Telecharge at (212) 239-6200 or visit

Photo by photos by Kevin Thomas Garcia


StageJunkie said...

I saw this on Sunday and thought it was touching and painful and heartbreaking. All three actresses gave powerful performances and really threw themselves into their roles. I checked and the show only had four days of previews. I don't know what day you saw the show but clearly the actors had only been performing it a couple of days at best and were still finding their legs and marks. For you to judge them before the show even opened -- and write about it here -- is not reflective of what is happening on stage now and you do a disservice to all of them as well as the show. Shame on you!

Sarah B. Roberts said...

Thank you Stage Junkie. Actually, I saw it on the final press night, the night before opening. They should have found the show by then. I'm not really blaming the actresses as much as the direction and the dialogue itself.

StageJunkie said...

And thank YOU, Sarah, for posting my comment (you have my respect as I wondered whether you would approve a negative comment). I do agree about some of the dialogue being lacking. With that said, however, you did refer to the unmatched "talent" on stage, so it sounded like you were blaming the actors.