Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Mrs. Mannerly
Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities: 1/26 – 2/21
  Leslie O'Carroll and Graham Ward (photo credit: P. Switzer)

     Jeffrey Hatcher’s “Mrs. Mannerly” is a memory play about a time in 1967 America when there were such things as “manners.”
      In total avoidance of a season of Little League baseball, the ten-year-old Jeffrey has agreed to enroll in a class taught by Mrs. Mannerly that meets on the second floor of the Third Street YMCA in Steubenville, Ohio.
 The teacher is an amiable, no nonsense champion of etiquette and social manners based in the Emily Post tradition. Most of the respected and respectful citizens of Steubenville have been raised under her watchful gaze and strict tutelage. She has even instructed Jeffrey’s mother in the traditions of Ms. Post’s book.
     Leslie O’Carroll is superb in the role of Mrs. Mannerly. One of Denver’s most beloved actors, it’s always a treat to get to see this artist command the stage. And command she does! Imperious for the most part, O’Carroll portrays her character’s sudden and short-lived attacks of vulnerability in a startlingly hilarious er, “manner.”
     Graham Ward is a brilliantly funny whirlwind of boyish mischief as he performs the roles of Hatcher and all the other members of the class. This is the first time this reviewer has had the chance to see Mr. Ward’s acting and one hopes to see him soon again upon the Denver stage.
     Director Edith Weiss elicits performances from her cast that capitalize on the great good humor in Hatcher’s play, as well as the poignancy of the friendship that grows between student and teacher.
      Samantha Saucedo’s costume design and Jon Olson’s lighting add immeasurably to the evening.
     If you, like this reviewer, need a respite from the barbaric lack of manners in the political news this election year, “Mrs. Mannerly” could be just the ticket!

Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities is located at 6901 Wadsworth Blvd, Arvada, Colorado
Tickets are available on line at     or by phoning the Box Office at 720-898-7200

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