For the fifth consecutive season, acclaimed drama critic, Terry Teachout, gave the The Florida Repertory Theatre a sterling review in a recent Wall Street Journal, telling readers nationwide that the company's production of The Little Foxes, was "SUPERLATIVE!"
Lillian Hellman's great American classic is an electrifying story of one family's ruthless greed and reckless deception.
Teachout opened his review saying it would be easy for a theatre company to miss the mark on this difficult play that about a troubled time in America's history, and he warned that if done incorrectly, the play would fall flat.
He said, "do The Little Foxes right, and it can't miss. The Florida Repertory Theatre is doing it very, very right, and the results are superlative!"
The play is the story of one southern family's greed, and at the center is Regina Giddens - originated on the stage by Tallulah Bankhead in 1939, and in the 1941 film by Bette Davis - a character Teachout called "one of the nastiest pieces of work in the history of American Theater."
Long-time ensemble member Sara Morsey played the role in the Florida Rep revival, and Teachout praised her performance saying, "Ms. Morsey is careful to carry herself in the genteel manner of a Southern lady right up to the moment when she unsheathes her razor and starts slashing."
Teachout also praised the play's director, another member of Florida Rep's ensemble of artists, Maureen Heffernan, saying she "worked wonders ... Ms. Heffernan makes a point of not getting in between the play and the audience."
Teachout also commended Heffernan for crafting the performances and the story in a way that unfolds naturally, saying, "Everybody onstage behaves like a real person, and the plot twists are allowed to happen rather than being self-consciously detonated."
As in his previous reviews, Teachout had high praise for Florida Rep's ensemble of actors, saying, "It helps - a lot - that Florida Rep has so fine a group of actors on which to draw ... all are well-matched to their parts."
Of the large ensemble cast, Teachout singled two other performances: Peter Thomasson and Carrie Lund.
He said, "Mr. Thomasson ... is satanically charming as Ben, the brother with the brains, and Carrie Lund ... comes within a whisker of stealing the show as Birdie, Regina's pitiful, downtrodden sister-in-law ... Ms. Lund snaps hungrily at every crumb of praise that the family flicks to her, knowing that's all she's going to get."
Teachout closed his review by telling two million readers that "few American plays written in the first half of the 20th century have proved to be so durable, and Florida Rep's revival gets everything out of The Little Foxes" that there is to be gotten."
Teachout is the drama critic for The Wall Street Journal and his writings on theatre, music and the arts have appeared in a variety of publications, including The New York Times and National Review.
Florida Repertory Theatre performs in the Historic Arcade Theatre on Bay Street, between Jackson and Hendry streets. Free parking is available.