Pacific Resident Theatre Presents
Noel Coward’s
MAY 12 – 18, 2000 LA WEEKLY

TONIGHT AT 8:30 Patience is rewarded in director Daniel O’Connor’s over long, if bubbly evening of Noel Coward material. O’Connor’s show takes three Coward pieces- We Were Dancing, Astonished Heart and Ways and Means- adds a passel of familiar Coward songs (‘Mrs. Worthington,” “Mad About the Boy”, etc.) and encourages mingling between cast and audience. The result may be too precious for some, but as Coward’s work verges on the cloying anyway, one can’t take much umbrage at such liberties. Still, when theatergoers realize that three hours have passed, they may wonder if perhaps a bit less banter would have worked better. The show proper starts amusingly with We Were Dancing, a blithe, self-deprecating send-up of romance and romantics. And though not everyone in the cast evinces a flair for such delicate fare, they do make a game effort. Ditto for The Astonished Heart, in which a seemingly perfect marriage is destroyed by lust, jealousy and really too much forbearance. (“I can tread water indefinitely,” says the ever-accommodating Barbara Faber.) But it’s in Ways and Means, set entirely in a bedroom, that Coward (and O’Connor) comes off best. Toby and Stella Cartwright (Matt Letscher and Sara
Newman, both divine) are the quintessential Coward couple (rich, witty, indifferent), and their frantic attempts to solve some cash-flow problems allow all concerned to shine. Pacific Resident Theater, 703 Venice Blvd. Venice; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun, 3 p.m.; thru July 2. (310) 82 8392. (David Mermelstein)

Pacific Resident Theater