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HCC Actor’s Guild The Princess Bride, Live

By • Nov 8th, 2013 • Category: Reviews
The Princess Bride, Live
HCC Actor’s Guild: (Info) (Web)
Chesapeake Theater-Harford Community College, Bel Air, MD
Through November 10th
2:10 with intermission
$12/$8 Youth, Seniors, HCC Students
Reviewed November 3rd, 2013

Making movies from books and novels is nothing new; it has been done for almost a century. Many great and beloved stories have been taken and hollywoodised. Everything from the Bible to graphic novels has been put on screen. So is that a good thing? Well it can be! It also can be a dangerous detrimental failure!

If you were born in the seventies, then when you were a blushing, impressionable teenager between 13 and 18 you can easily guess, understand, and feel me on this, when I say one of the most beloved stories/films of all-time hit the screen! The iconic “The Princes Bride.” Back in 1987 every teenage boy wanted to be the dashing Wesley or the courageous Inigo and every girl wanted to be swept away like Buttercup. The film has become one of the biggest influences of pop culture and still holds strong to this very day.

Harford Community College and the students of theatre workshop I, II, and III daringly have done the unthinkable! They have adapted this symbolic novel by William Gordon and the film directed by Rob Reiner into a full-blown full stage theatrical production, INCONCEIVABLE! And they have done it virtuously!

Under the strong, vivid and imaginitive direction of Brandon McCoy the book and film comes to life. Now I won’t insult our society by going through the plot line or the story, so if you are the only person in the existence of the universe who has not read it or seen the movie, stop reading this now! Run and go watch “The Princess Bride” or read the book, or better yet do both.

Adapted by Brandon McCoy, Rebecca Davis and the Cast after the novel and film by William Goldman. At the beginning of the show we are greeted by a stern cat lady type narrator, effectively and skillfully played by Jordan Wyandt, who enjoys a sip or a full snifter of brandy who settles in comfortably in to her lazy boy, and thus begins to read the very oversized “The Princes Bride” when she is suddenly interrupted by a young audience member 1 (Lizzie Detar) and then suddenly another audience member 2 (Jean Perrie) with an array of comments and questions. As she sternly, and quite skillfully and humorously puts them in their place the stage comes to life. And for the next two hours we are transformed and enchanted back into our childhood, back into our beloved fairy tale. Fully equipped with the beloved one liners, STELLAR!!!!!!!!! Swash-buckling fight choreography, and sound, light, video and audio special effects that make this production an Inconceivable success!

McCoy’s vision shine clearly and he executes it without fail. Creating two audience members as part of the cast was a very wise and artistic move, breaking the fourth wall allowed the audience to feel that they were really a part of the story and the show. That the narrator was talking directly to them, and that the characters on stage came right out of our imaginations.

This 14 member cast works quite well together and it is clear to see the effect this story has on all of them and the love they posses for it. Joshua Kradz with his suave and sharp vocal range and chiseled cheek bones does quite well as the (Man In Black). His interpretation of the role is a combination of the dazzling Cary Elwes and his own creative take on our dashing but at times bumbling hero. As the show advertises on the front cover this production is “An Homage” and it does deliver that, so most of the performances are a loving and respectful parody and impersonation of the actors from the film. Joanna Adams (Buttercup) was one of the few that did not base her character on Robin Wright’s performance; she made it her very own. And it shined beautify. Adams underplays her character’s dramatic moments with honesty and calmness, which gives her great strength and vulnerability. Adams is also a phenomenal Physical Performer (SURPRISE!!!) her moments of silence and intensive listening, or miming her swimming with the eels, were some of the strongest moments of the production.

Dave Panzer (Fezzik) is definitely the heart of the show. You fell in love with him from the moment he gigantically walked on stage. His honesty in the character stands out next to none. And yes he practically brought down the house with; “ANY BODY WANNA PEANUT?” Nathanial Donahue (Vizzini) is physically perfect for the low-life mastermind, his attempt to emulate Wallace Shawn mostly is successful, although at times Donahue’s lines were delivered extremely quickly, making it hard to understand, and it also lost some moments of humor.

Connor Shay (Humperdinck) is so over dramatic and so over the top that it works like a charm. Not sure how but it just does. Shay has combined Chris Sarandon with Lord Farquaad and delivered an entertaining performance. Hunter Lakota Baker (Count Rugen), is Shay’s sidekick (oh and SPOILER ALERT!!!!), he is the six-fingered man. He balances the tension and comedy well.

The rest of the actors play multiple roles do a great job and love every moment. So this brings me to Tim Torre (Inigo) who completely transforms himself into the drunken, courageous, sharp-tongued Spaniard, haunted by his father’s death and obsessively overtaken by revenge. And yes Torre emulates Mandy Patinkin but he does it superbly, and by the second act he brings so much of his own emotion and honesty and vulnerability that you just can’t take your eyes of him. Another quite impressive performance by the upcoming master of the craft.

The show closes this weekend, so do yourself a favor forget about reality for two hours and do something inconceivable, and that word does not mean what you think it means, and go experience The Princess Bride Live!

Cast

  • Man in Black: Joshua Kradz
  • Buttercup: Joanna Adams
  • Inigo: Tim Torre
  • Vizzini: Nathaniel Donahue
  • Fezzik: Dave Panzer
  • Humperdinck: Connor Shea
  • Count Rugen: Hunter Lakota Baker
  • King and Miracle Max: Brandon Molle
  • Queen and Valerie: Madeline Favazza
  • Narrator: Jordan Wyandt
  • Buttercup’s Father, Assistant Brute, Clergyman: Byron Davis
  • Audience Member 1: Lizzie Detar
  • Audience Member 2: Jean Perrie
  • Buttercup’s Mother, Albino, Yellin: Andie Cappelletti

Production Staff

  • Producer: Ben Fisher
  • Director: Brandon McCoy
  • Assistant Director: Miranda Litchford
  • Stage Manager: Sarah Tweed
  • Literary Manager: Rebecca Davis
  • Technical Director/Scenic and Props Designer: Robbie Elliot
  • Lighting Designer: Baron Pugh
  • Costume Designer: Kerri Younkin
  • Costume Assistants: Debi Gable, Susan Yip, Sheila Siebert
  • Run Crew: Johanna Brown, Aimee O’Neill, Cami Ortiz-Mesa
  • Projections/Animations: Brad Davis, Students in Theatre Workshop I, II, and III and Stagecraft I

Disclaimer: HCC Actor’s Guild provided two complimentary media tickets to ShowBizRadio for this review.

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worked for twenty years as a professional actor and director, as well as worked a myriad of other theatrical production roles at various levels. In recent years, he served as Artistic Director/President of STROyKA Theatre in Washington, DC. Roman privately teaches acting, voice, and piano and serves as a consultant to various groups and schools. His primary role is stay-at-home dad and full-time college student. He also directs the Voices Unlimited Youth Choir at Mt. Zion United Methodist Church in Bel Air, MD.

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