Regional Reviews: Washington, D.C.
Leigh-Ann Friedel's set brings the viewer inside the modest, dark, rather frowsy North Philadelphia home of the Fisher family. Mr. Fisher (Craig Miller) is a workingman, Mrs. Fisher (Lee Mikeska Gardner) is a sensible homemaker, and older daughter Clara (Jenna Berk) is married to a responsible fellow, Frank Hyland (Nello DeBlasio). Amy works in an office and finds the effusive Aubrey captivating: he tells her he's an executive with the Pennsylvania Railroad instead of the $35-a-week clerk he really is, he talks too loud and too fast, he brandishes flowers and other gifts like weapons, and he wears a ridiculous toupee, but he truly loves her. The question becomes when his house of cards is going to collapse.
As solidly directed by Stephen Jarrett, Gram conveys Aubrey's hard shell and resistance to taking responsibility for his mistakes, but he also makes it clear that his feelings for Amy and her family are sincere and that, in his way, he's only doing what he thinks is best for everyone. (His bombastic manner and determined optimism suggest that his modern-day equivalent would be addicted to motivational speakers and self-help schemes.) Gardner earns her laughs as the long-suffering, constantly frazzled Mrs. Fisher, who tries to act as a voice of reason but can't stand up against the relentless battering ram in her life. Wide-eyed McGuff also plays well against Gram, two dreamers facing a tough world.
Erin Nugent's costumes help bring to life an era when manual laborers had to change into suit and tie before they could go out after work, even to visit a sick relative in the hospital. Berk, especially, wears detailed dresses befitting a woman of a somewhat higher financial level than the rest of her family.
American Century Theater