Keen Company

presents

GOOD MORNING, BILL

By P.G. WODEHOUSE

 

Connelly Theatre

220 E. 4 St.

(212) 868-4444 or www.smarttix.com

 

September 19 – October 12, 2003

 

Directed by CARL FORSMAN

Scenic Designer NATHAN HEVERIN

Lighting Designer JOSH BRADFORD

Costume Designer THERESA SQUIRE

Sound Designer STEFAN JACOBS

Stage Manager LARS PREECE

Choreographer CHRISTINE SUAREZ

Press Representative KAREN GRECO

Cast

Marie – Jenny Mercein

Lord Tidmouth – Nick Toren

Lottie – Bridget Ann White

Bill – Jeremiah Wiggins

Dr. Sally Smith – Heidi Armbruster

Page-Boy – David Standish

Uncle Hugo – John Vennema

Well, Keen Company is at it again, and this time they have mounted a beautifully packaged production of P.G. Wodehouse’s GOOD MORNING, BILL. A refreshing diversion from the reality of modern life, this witty romp about a wealthy, yet undirected young man who falls for a feisty, dedicated doctor is the kind of play that an audience can slide into with the comfort of putting on a favorite pair of slippers.

In keeping with their goal to mount "unexpected revivals," Keen has chosen a sweet little satire by the witty British humorist Wodehouse, best known as the creator of the Wooster and Jeeves characters. What matters most in plays like this, GOOD MORNING, BILL, is the ability of the director to comprehend the subtlety of the jokes, and for the cast to hit all of the right marks. Here, they do. Ironic when necessary, over the top at the highpoints, and wonderfully wrapped up in the time and place depicted, everything falls right where it ought. Save for some really odd behavior that the script requires at the end, and that feels rather strange, everything else goes down smoothly.

This is feel-good diversion. It is the type of play that you do not have to think too hard about, but that, when well designed and executed, is just that much more pleasing. I suppose a play like GOOD MORNING, BILL could be dismissed as mere fluff, but it really is more subtly observant of the human condition than that. For, P.G. Wodehouse was a masterful observer of class differences, social mores, and the inherent witticisms to be extracted from the everyday duties associated with cultural niceties. Under the studied, yet swift direction of Carl Forsman, the cast reaches full potential. Add to that the impressive sets and costumes (Nathan Heverin, Theresa Squire respectively), and you have got a real stunner for off-Broadway.

I will admit to being an avid Anglophile, and a fan of British humor. However, I know good work when I see it, and Keen Company’s GOOD MORNING, BILL is one current example. Being a fan of that sense of humor from across the Atlantic may make it that much more enjoyable, but is most certainly not requisite.

- Kessa De Santis -

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