Gloucester Stage now has performed two-thirds of Alan Ayckbourn’s glorious THE NORMAN CONQUESTS. I can hardly wait for Gloucester to mount part three of Norman’s romantic adventures. Director Eric Engel conducts the mayhem flawlessly, never veering into caricature, never charging over the top (and I’m a stickler where NORMAN’s trilogy is concerned: It’s one or should I say three of my favorite plays).
The physicality of the comedy is perfection in at Gloucester, and never more so than in LIVING TOGETHER (Part II) with Steven Barkhimer as Norman succumbing hilariously to some lethal dandelion wine and Jennie Israel furiously pressing a magazine to her eyebrow in order to read without her glasses. Barlow Adamson performs some marvelous feats of entertainment just by standing still and Richard Snee delights by impersonating a knight on a chessboard (not to mention his impersonation of a husband).
Sarah Newhouse is a wonderful foil to Lindsay Crouse’s hysterical, condescending sister-in-law. Her turnabout is simply delicious, right down to her smug, conspiratorial little smile. In short, this family is certifiably insane and you adore each and every one of them. You won’t find better ensemble work anywhere.