Updated: Mar 18, 2019
By Galina Vasileva
★★★☆☆ - Satisfying
Squabbles by Marshall Karp, and directed by Michael Brazeir, at Theatre in the Valley is a family story and the good spirit of the loving characters in it, was well communicated even before the beginning.
The theatre’s little space, miraculously designed to fit the whole Sloan family home, gave the sense of the cozy and the whiffs of sweet living, especially from the kitchen. The tangerines in the bowl on stage looked very much like mine that I had just rearranged in a basket that morning while talking on the phone with my mom. The colors of the room were newly painted but full of spirit, leaving me wondering if the walls could talk – it felt like your grandma’s house. But it was not.
The humanity of the sensational cast stayed with the audience during and after performance. The actors could have been more breathable, with more layers and technique, but the human soul, the unique touch and their full commitment were there. Their game was not pretentious but honest and energetic. Jose Alonzo (Hector) carried his smiley and warm nature through Hector`s vision of the world, outlining the specific contrast needed for his part.
Zannie Seguin (Alice Sloan) and David Ament (Jerry Sloan) both did not spare strength and time balancing between their always fighting, strong character parents. Congratulation to Terri L. Gandy (Mildred Sloan) and Jim Williams (Abe Dreyfus) who kept their arguments hot, vivid and sparkling. One of these sparkling moments is when Mildred talks to the plush dog, ignoring Abe in his presence- such a powerful moment, that I felt neglected and hurt for Abe.
Carol Kathleen Taylor (Mrs.Fisher) brought another distinctive persona which sharply contrasted with everyone else and defied the usual stereotype of a baby sitter. Steve Manges (Sol Waserman) played the role of outsider, that comes and goes at important moments. Their collaboration was fun to watch, without the necessity for belief.
The straightforward approach was aimed at realism, instead of searching for a different angle that might have been more artful, and offer a deeper interpretation, for despite all the contrast in the personalities and the honesty in the action, the show delivered on a single leveled, which made the story line ordinary and predictable. However, overall the humor of the script was presented successfully.
The show left the audience feeling cheered up and happy after witnessing the actors enjoying the work creating together. Like the basket full of tangerines, some moments of this show are really sweet, and ready to eat.
Theatre In The Valley, Henderson
Runs from February 2 until February 18
Fridays at 7:30 p, Saturdays at 3p and 7:30p, Sundays at 2p.