Regional Reviews: Florida - West Coast
My Brilliant Divorce
Written in 2001 in England the play has proven popular when produced in 22 world-wide locations. For American audiences the central character has been tweaked into an ex-patriot American married to a Brit, but this conceit is hit and miss. Her mother (American?) moving back to Dublin in retirement doesn't make a lot of sense and several of Angela's actions seem more English than American. The play does not contain the emotional depth or insight into a very difficult life experience that would make it a richer theatrical experience. Instead, it smacks of situation comedy writing.
In spite of this, Ms. Testa, showing why she is an in demand performer, gives a performance full of big personality, helping the audience connect to Angela's plight. She also proves to be a great physical presence, managing not to be upstaged by a very cute, radio controlled dog named Dexter.
Producing artistic director Michael Donald Edwards has directed this production, keeping the action moving forward. He has a sure eye for the British setting of the play, helping Ms. Testa define the locale strongly. His design team has created a rear setting that is visually interesting and also serves well for the projections that enliven the production. Costuming is bare and functional.
This is not the strongest production Asolo has put together, but as a vehicle for the incredible talents of its star, it provides an entertaining afternoon or evening in the theater.
Asolo Repertory Theater presents My Brilliant Divorce through July 14, 2013, at the Mertz Theater in the FSU Center, 5555 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. Box Office (941) 351-8000. For more information visit www.asolorep.org.
Cast: Mary Testa as Angela Kennedy Lipshitz
Directed by Michael Donald Edwards