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“The Lucky One” Reveals the Grownup Side of A. A. Milne”
The Lucky One
Directed by Jesse Marchese
The Mint Theater Company
The Beckett Theatre at Theatre Row
410 West 42nd Street
From April 14, 2017
Tuesday – Saturday 7:30pmSaturday & Sunday 2:00pmWednesday 5/17 & 5/31 at 2:00pm, No performance 5/30
Closes June 25, 2017
Reviewed by Paulanne Simmons May 11, 2017
Michael Frederic, Robert David Grant, and Andrew Fallaize in THE LUCKY ONE by A.A. Milne. Directed by Jesse Marchese.
Photo: Richard Termine.
Mention the name A.A. Milne and what first comes to mind is that lovable bear, Winnie-the-Pooh. But Milne also wrote over two dozen plays, many of which are marked by thoughtful insights into English society during the early 20th century.
By the early 1920s, Milne had established himself on both sides of the Atlantic. But in 1917, “The Lucky One,” written during Milne’s military service, failed to find a London producer. It wasn’t until 1922 that the play had its premiere, and that was on Broadway in a Theatre Guild production at the Garrick Theatre.
The Mint’s revival, directed by Jess Marchese, shows that when it comes to filial relations, not much has changed in the last century. Bob Farringdon (Ari Brand) and his younger brother, Gerald (Robert David Grant) are scions of a well-heeled London family. Both men have had a privileged upbringing, attending all the right schools and making all the best connections. However, whereas Gerald shines in everything he does, Bob’s accomplishments have always been considerably less impressive.
As the play opens, Bob, who has a position in a business firm, is in serious trouble, thanks to the malfeasance of his partner. Gerald, who is a valued member of the Foreign Office, is about to marry Pamela (Paton Ashbrook), an attractive and amiable woman who was originally a friend of Bob.
Gerald seems oblivious to his good fortune. Bob nurses old grievances. Only Miss Farringdon (the delightful Cynthia Harris), their great aunt, realizes things are not what they seem.
The characters engage in typical British activities. Gerald’s friend, the young Thomas Todd (Andrew Fallaize) is obsessed with cricket (or whatever it is the Brits play) a source of much amusement in the play. The Farringdon family and their friends seem forever drinking, whether it be tea or alcoholic beverages. The talk is sometimes clever, never particularly meaningful.
However, in private moments, the characters reveal themselves with painful clarity. And act two presents major reversals that make the audience question previous assumptions.
Vicki A. Davis’s set and Martha Hally’s costumes keep “The Lucky One” firmly rooted in the early 20th century, as do the actors’ accents and demeanor. But the tension Grant and Brand create and the family dynamics developed through the brothers and their parents, Lady Farringdon (Deanne Lorette) and Sir James Farringdon (Wynn Harmon) is impeccably modern.
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