Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: Washington, D.C.

The York Realist

Also see Tracy's reviews of A Christmas Carol, Crowns, and
If Only In My Dreams

Markus Potter and Tom Story
Studio Theatre's latest offering is the U.S. premiere of Peter Gill's play, The York Realist. Set in the 1960s in Yorkshire, the piece relates the story of George, a stoic farmhand and amateur actor, and his romantic relationship with his assistant director, John. Watching this relationship play out are George's close-knit family and Doreen, the woman who loves him.

The York Realist is a memory play. It highlights a time in George's life when his mother is still alive and his relationship with John has numerous possibilities. It also spotlights the difficulties of being in a homosexual relationship during this time period. Overall, the piece does have possibilities, but it's the collection of characters, not the plotline, that makes one take notice. There are many fine dramatic moments with some comic relief thrown in for good measure. Nonetheless, it seems to drag in some spots and there are several times when impact is lost.

Director Serge Seiden does some fine things with the play. His blocking choices are especially interesting in regard to John, George and Doreen. If watched closely, one will note that at one point their placement on the stage forms a triangle, giving one a sense of things to come.

The acting in this production is a bit uneven. The strongest member of the cast is also the centerpiece of the play. Markus Potter delivers a multi-layered portrayal as George. He connects well to everyone on stage, especially to Faith Potts who plays his mother. Potts gives a lovely and very real performance. Colleen Delany as Doreen is also quite good. Delany's performance is quite subtle, yet the power of her character comes through by the end of the play. Sadly, Tom Story's John is not quite as strong. At times Story is a bit over-the-top. This works well when he is playing for laughs but he doesn't reign himself in during his more dramatic scenes and at times it is hard to take him seriously. Also, his accent is quite distracting due to its inconsistency.

Russell Metheny's outstanding set has the rustic feel of an old farm cabin. Lighting by Dan Covey helps to convey the mood and setting of the piece. Devon Painter's costumes are well constructed and they are also successful at relating the time period and character personalities.

The York Realist tries to be provocative, but it never really gets to that point. It is a very good character study though the plotline proves to be rather bland. Unfortunately, this play is not deserving of such rich characters. The York Realist runs through January 11th.

The Studio Theatre
The York Realist
December 3rd - January 11th
Written by Peter Gill
Directed by Serge Seiden
1333 P Street, NW
Washington, DC 20005
Ticket Information: 202-332-3300 or

Cast List

George: Markus Potter
John: Tom Story
Mother: Faith Potts
Barbara: Nanette Savard
Arthur: Lawrence C. Daly
Doreen: Colleen Delany
Jack: Joe Baker

Photo: Carol Pratt

-- Tracy Lyon

Also see the Current Theatre Season Calendar for D.C.

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