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Unhappy Wife Barrels Off to Niagara Falls in “Wonder of the World” at Little Victory Theater

Posted By Karen Young On October 19, 2009 @ 11:29 pm In Arts & Culture,Featured,spotlight,Theater | No Comments

AmyLyons90BY AMY LYONS

Ever thought of skipping out on your spouse and subsequently splashing over Niagara Falls in a barrel? Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright David Lindsay-Abaire assigns the female protagonist of Wonder of the World a version of that journey, and the unfolding of the plan is both heartbreaking and hilarious. Seaglass Theatre Company is staging a production of the show at The Little Victory Theatre in Burbank, complete with, on select nights, pre-show photo ops of audience members in yellow rain-slickers in front of a Niagara Falls backdrop.

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Kimberly Van Luin, David Ghilardi, Elizabeth Bond, Ian Vogt, Jill Holden, Paul Stroili, Jen Ray Photo: Ed Krieger

Elizabeth Bond plays Cass–a role originally played by Sarah Jessica Parker in the 2000 production at Manhattan Theatre Club—a staid wife who stumbles upon evidence of her husband’s outlandish fetish, and subsequently splits the scene, embarking on a manic journey to do all the big things she’s skipped during her married years. A bus trip to Niagara Falls kicks off her “new life,” but her amped up exhilaration smacks of a woman on the verge. She’s so happy and hyper-talkative, it’s hard to find the human behind all the noisy, forced glee. As Cass runs from her husband and his dirty little secret, she picks up a new, suicidal best friend, has a fling with a boat captain, and never stops making marks on the checklist she’s vowed to complete as a newly single woman.

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Elizabeth Bond and Kimberly Van Luin. Photo: Ed Kreiger

It’s a fun script that gets a little to cartoonish near the end, tiring the audience with lots of goofy gags and unlikely situations. Still, Lindsay-Abaire has a rare sense of humor and a penchant for unhappy characters healing themselves in adventurous ways. Bond hits all of the protagonist’s manic notes, portraying the almost unhinged wife with no shortage of frantic drive. Though her mining of the character’s over-the-top coping mechanisms are often funny, Bond might do well with a few more toned-down moments. As it stands, her performance never allows us access to the authentic person of Cass, only to the clownish exterior she’s developed to protect herself from pain.

Damon Fortier makes several clever choices on set design and the sound design of Cricket S. Myers is knockout, per usual.

Through November 1, at The Little Victory, 3325 Victory Blvd., Burbank. For tickets, visit www.seaglasstheatre.org.

Amy Lyons is a professional freelance journalist and theatre critic, with a degree in Theatre Arts and English from UMass, Boston. She started her journalism career at The Boston Globe and is a member of the Drama Critics Circle. Her articles, theatre reviews and photos regularly appear in numerous publications, including the Beverly Press, Valley Life Magazine, the Santa Monica Mirror and www.nohoartsdistrict.com

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