From the C-T
Theater Review: "Moonlight and Magnolias" fast and frantic fun
by Tony Kiss
published February 21, 2008 10:00 am
By Tony Kiss
ASHEVILLE - What if the Three Stooges tried to write the screenplay for “Gone with the Wind,” in just five days – locked in a room with nothing to eat but bananas and peanuts?
But these Stooges aren’t Moe, Larry and Curly – they’re producer David O. Selznick, screenwriter Ben Hecht and director Victor Fleming.
That, in a nutshell, is “Moonlight and Magnolias,” a wildly entertaining slapstick comedy running at Asheville’s N.C. Stage Co. This freewheeling romp showcases the superb talents of Scott Treadway as Selznick, theater co-founder Charles McIver as Fleming and the increasingly impressive Willie Repoley as Hecht – plus Lauren Fortuna as the dutiful secretary Miss Poppenghul, who manages some good moments up against this powerhouse trio.
Loud and frantic, there’s a strong similarity here to “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged),” previously performed by the same company which starred Treadway and McIver acting out the Bard’s works in one evening. There is great on-stage chemistry with these guys, and it’s only made better with the addition of Repoley to the mix.
It’s 1939, and stressed-out Selznick has shut down the movie for lack of a suitable script. He’s called weary fix-it man writer Hecht for help, and summoned strong-willed Fleming from the almost completed “The Wizard of Oz.”
Trouble is, Hecht knows nothing of “Gone with the Wind,” so Selznick and Fleming will act it out for him, line by line, as he pecks out the screenplay for a big paycheck. Hecht wrestles with the book’s racist undertones, while Selznick and Fleming wrestle with each other, and all three sink into an almost psychotic stupor from the stress.
Everyone here shines under the direction of Ron Bashford. Given little more to do than reply “Yes, Mr. Selznick,” Fortuna steals a few moments, especially pushing a squeaky cart around the stage.
This one will leave you exhausted from laughter and the experience of watching this bunch work.
Contact Tony Kiss at 828-232-5855, via e-mail at TKiss@CITIZEN-TIMES.com
21 February 2008
From the C-T