Tony Mastroianni Review Collection

"Volpone" Done Well by Chagrin Cast

Cleveland Press January 13, 1967

The Little Theater which makes Chagrin Falls its headquarters took on an Elizabethan comedy last night. The show is "Volpone," a comedy about avarice and the parasitic nature of man.

Though a dissertation on depravity, the work emerged as rather zestful and light-hearted. Much of this is due to Jonson's still comic lines, some of it to a stylized performance of the play.

If the styles had been more consistent, the production would be more successful. The show is a blend of Elizabethan comedy and 19th Century melodrama and some of the players are given to over gesturing.

The production's other flaw is length. Guest director Judith Daykin has trimmed the work but more could be cut. The final curtain now is at 11:50.

BUT MISS DAYKIN has scored with clever methods of set-changing, integrating them into the performance. This may be a carryover from her days as Musicarnival stage manager. It is the sort of tricky activity that keeps the show moving.

"Volpone" is the story of an avaricious man who hopes to gain even more wealth by allowing his friends to think he is dying and that each may be favored in his will.

To this end, each is willing to present valuable gifts. One man even offers his wife. The moving force in all of this is Volpone's wily servant -- a cunning, conniving creature who plays off one man's greed against another's.

John Price, who runs Musicarnival during the summer, has the title role. He plays it broadly rather than subtly, warms up to the part, particularly as the character assumes other disguises and identities.

PAULINE HOMI, as an incessantly talking woman, is the performer most at home in the style of acting needed in this play.

Nat Kaufman is properly villainous as the parasitic servant, and Anne Temple flutters her eyelids and throws up her hands in mock horror as the betrayed wife.

Merlin House and Vic Vail double in a variety of roles as well as serving as stage hands.