Keen Theatre Company presents an adaptation of Graham Greene's comic novel about a mild-mannered retired banker and his eccentric aunt, in which four actors play over 25 characters. More…
Henry Pulling leads a quiet life and never strays too far from his home in Southwood, England. But when his outrageous Aunt Augusta suddenly appears in his life with mysterious information about his past, Henry is drawn into a series of exotic international adventures. Henry, Aunt Augusta and over 25 of the characters they meet along the way are inventively portrayed by just four actors who switch identities, nationalities, ages and genders in this theatrical escapade.
"One might think that you would be watching a traditional well-made play with a neatness of plot and classic performance style, but director Jonathan Silverstein has offered us a unique artistic vision that elevates this piece into another stratosphere...It is obvious that he has mastered the ability to create an unforgettable ensemble tour de force... Breathtaking in its originality and elegant simplicity." Full Review
"A high-energy joyride for audience and actors alike is now viewable in an optimal, intimate setting, ably navigated by Keen Company’s artistic director Jonathan Silverstein...So warped is the play’s moral compass, it may leave yours disturbingly askew." Full Review
"Havergal’s conceit for the piece is that all of Greene’s characters are played by a quartet of actors who assume both male and female roles. Not only do they alternate between playing Henry and Augusta, but also all of the characters whom the two meet during their journeys. It’s a recipe for some high-spirited acting, and under Jonathan Silverman’s fine direction, this new production boasts four performances to savor." Full Review
"Charming revival...'Travels With My Aunt' registers as low-calorie froth...Its over-the-top plot, and equally exaggerated leading lady, are always framed by a certain middle-class circumspection. Much of its appeal lies in the contrast between the ostensibly stodgy actors and the outlandish tales they purvey...While the cast of four takes on a multitude of roles, it blends virtuosity with modesty." Full Review
"This production is an inventive piece of theater that is elevated by the delightful performances of its four actors, who play no fewer than two dozen roles...In addition to the production's funny performances, Silverstein creates the feel of travel onstage by keeping the actors and the scenery in motion...'Travels With My Aunt' is a trip worth taking." Full Review
"The characters are types, not fully realized individuals: instead of caring about them, we wait for them to amuse us...In this and in other ways we can find fragments of thought that propelled the novel, but generally the novel’s ideas are submerged. This production is all about style, and about four actors who play a multitude of parts with arch humor and perfect timing." Full Review
"True, harried director Jonathan Silverstein has to cope with the invented machinations of author Graham Greene trotting out thriller clues and wiggling around them, which carry tale along leaving little room for witty attitudes to break out again and again as we have earlier enjoyed, but what the hell, you can’t have everything. But there’s a trick or two up his capacious sleeve before a none too unexpected denouement, so, enjoy the game and never fear. You are in good hands." Full Review
"Jonathan Silverstein’s direction, brings some delightful performances, but it is truly like having a book acted out for you. If you like this kind of theater you will love this, if not you will be extremely bored as it is two hours long. Just to think we have gone from book, to movie, to kindle to theater." Full Review
"The terrific versatility of the actors makes it great fun to keep all the multi-played personas sorted out...The first act is not that difficult to follow. The second act, on the other hand, was more convoluted as the casting conceit got deep into Greene's favorite genreses and themes. This did give Silverstein and company a chance to give the quartet a whole new look and end things as a colorful very Greenian entertainment. Full Review
"Jonathan Silverstein’s revival of 'Travels with My Aunt' is both challenging and understated so that its pleasures are low-key and refined. With Graham Greene’s witty, extravagant and fanciful plot and the creative acting of its four performers, 'Travels with My Aunt' is an exquisite jewel that is not for everyone. However, the evening does have a good deal to teach us about living life to the fullest and not settling for easy compromises that we may come to regret." Full Review
"The story moves with surprising fluidity. The characters interrupt each other, change topics. switch or chop sentences and Silverstein encourages as much humor as the play allows. Certainly it is a dated picaresque adventure, not digging deeply into anything but telling a nutty flamboyant story." Full Review
"Mr. Havergill’s adaptation demonstrates that it’s possible to turn a multi-locale, multi-character novel into a play, using only four identically dressed actors and barely any props. It’s a trick, and, like all good tricks, needs distractions to make it work. Such distractions would have been a first-rate cast and production, and a consistently engrossing story. Their absence leaves the trick’s illusion exposed." Full Review
"It’s a plot heavy story, and not always easy to follow, though the very busy and talented company of four move about with alacrity and characterize swiftly... With no help from the design department, these travels with Aunt Augusta lack sparkle and offer mild amusement in its place. What we have here is more of a staged reading of the novel rather than a dramatization of it." Full Review
"It’s clever, but the trick grows tiresome before long. You can figure out the ending at least an hour in advance. I found the material too thin to hold my interest for over two hours. Apparently, Havergal has approved a 50-minute one-act version which sounds about right to me. Steven C. Kemp’s set shouts 'low budget,' but it gets the job done. Jennifer Paar’s matching costumes are delightful. The direction by Keen artistic director Jonathan Silverstein is competent." Full Review
See it if you enjoy shows that are cleverly constructed. This one has 20+ characters played by 4 actors, with 1 of the characters played by all 4.
Don't see it if you require more than cleverness. The story is intelligently told, with some suspense, but the beauty of this show is in how it is told.
See it if you love Greene's novel. A faithful adaptation done w energy & theatricality. The plot, tho, has off-putting elements. Well-acted, staged.
Don't see it if you want a fully satisfying evening. I don't buy GG's thesis that to really live one must be unethical and wild. Not funny enough.
See it if you like watching a bunch of white guys on stage playing the same characters with minimal staging.
Don't see it if you like diversity in casting and are confused by multiple characters playing the same characters sometimes (but not all the time).
See it if you're interested in seeing a mystery/adventure story with all of the life and suspense sucked out of it.
Don't see it if you will be annoyed that a wide swath of characters of various sexes and races are all only played by 4 white men.
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