Saturday, January 13, 2018

Hindle Wakes


Once again, Mint Theater’s artistic director Jonathan Banks has rediscovered an interesting British play from the early 20th century and given it a first-rate production. The playwright is Stanley Houghton, a Manchester theater critic turned author who died tragically at 32 only a year after this play brought him wide acclaim in 1912. The play combines family drama, social criticism, ethical and moral dilemmas, satire and a dash of feminism. It reminded me a bit of Shaw minus much of the wit. When the mill owner’s spoiled son Alan (Jeremy Beck) is caught out after a weekend fling with mill hand Fanny (Rebecca Noelle Brinkley), whose father Christopher (Ken Marks) is an old friend of Alan’s father Nathaniel (Jonathan Hogan), everyone — from Fanny’s mother (Sandra Shipley) to Alan’s mother (Jill Tanner) to Alan’s fiancee Beatrice (Emma Geer) and her wealthy father Sir Timothy (Brian Reddy) — has an opinion about what Alan should do. Shouldn’t Fanny have a say in the matter? Stay tuned. The production has been lovingly staged with an attractive set by Charles Morgan, excellent costumes by Sam Fleming, impressive dialect work by Amy Stoller and smooth direction by Gus Kaikkonen. It’s slow moving and the accents can be a bit challenging, but if you have a taste for well-produced neglected plays, you will be rewarded. About the title, “Hindle” is the name of the imaginary Lancastrian town where the play is set. “Wakes” refers to Wakes Week, a now-vanished custom whereby the local industry closed down for a summer week so everyone could go on holiday. Running time: 2 hours 15 minutes including intermission.

No comments:

Post a Comment