Dearly Departed

Curiously, while the weakest link in the cast is Robert J. Butcher's lead portrayal of David, his slightly self-conscious and wooden acting in some ways works well in this production. He is awkward and forced with all the other members of the cast but Friedman. When they are together, in his fantasies, on the beach, he seems to fall into her rhythm and acts magnificently. Because of this quirk (which I sense was not intentional), David's and Gillian's relationship is made clearer than perhaps even Brady intended. They have a world of their own, and Butcher therefore acts naturally only in the presence of Friedman.

The rest of the cast deliver solid, dependable work -- fine for their roles A and the design by Gary Douglas is perfect. It is so heartening to see a small company such as New Theatre grow so profoundly over the years, to the point now where excellence is a reliable trademark and they are ready to tackle new works, such as Brady's next play, Two Bears Blinking. Instead of premiering it at Circle in the Square or the Ensemble Studio Theatre in New York, where his work usually goes, the playwright has chosen to put his new play first in the hands of New Theatre. Judging by the work done on Gillian, he has made a very wise choice.

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