Travels With My Aunt

I saw Travels With My Aunt at Writers’ Theatre tonight.  It was at the small stage in Books on Vernon.  They did the “general admission” thing again – does twice in a row make it a trend or a permanent feature?  No matter, because I was early.
I have not yet read the novel by Graham Greene, but I am sure going to – it was fabulous.  There were four actors playing 26 characters in the show.  One of the actors, LaShawn Banks, was the lead in Turn of the Screw a few seasons back.  In that piece, he also played multiple characters and I remember it as an excellent performance. 

The weird thing is that all four actors play the narrator, Henry, and then they play a bunch of other characters.  You get used to it pretty quickly, though.  Even Sean Fortunato, who plays the Aunt, manages to go back and forth between the two rather seamlessly.  Not much more than a shift in body language, but you can follow it.

The effects were old school and performed right on stage. The sounds of the Orient Express beginning to chug, for example, were created by opening an umbrella at increasingly speedy intervals. Writers’ Theatre always makes that stuff charming.

Henry, a 55-year old retiree, meets his Aunt Augusta at his mother’s funeral.  She lives in a world of adventure and sometimes all-out fantasy and poor Henry gets sucked right in.  Happily, while Henry is a rather dull guy, he doesn’t pout or whine about the half-truths and other inconveniences that their Travels entail.  In the end, Augusta determines not to return to England.  And Henry must decide whether to go back to his old comfortable world, or to live in her crazy/thrilling one. 

Seriously, I have to go read this.

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