LESS THAN KINDby Sir Terence Rattigan
Director – Jac Alder
Set Designer – Brian Clinnin
Costume Designer – Bruce Richard Coleman
Lighting Designer – Kenneth Farnsworth
Sound Designer – Marco Salinas
Diana Fletcher – Jenna Anderson
Olivia Brown – Lisa-Gabrielle Greene
Michael Brown – Zak Reynolds
Miss Dell – Krishna Smitha
Sir John Fletcher – Paul T. Taylor
Polton – Gina Waits
Photo credit: Jeffrey Schmidt
Reviewed Performance: 3/10/2014
Reviewed by Jeremy William Osborne, Associate Critic for John Garcia's THE COLUMN
Many versions of Less Than Kind are available, having been rewritten twice during the playwright's life and re-edited to its original version posthumously. The other variations are titled Love in Idleness, originally produced in 1944, and O Mistress Mine! in 1946. The final version made its debut in 2011 in celebration of what would have been Sir Rattigan's 100th birthday.
The play tells the story of an idealistic Labour Party-supporting young man, butting heads with his mother's lover who also happens to be a high-ranking member of the Tories. If that last sentence didn't make much sense, this play is probably not for you. There are many laughs throughout but not much action. This is not Monty Python but, instead, C. S. Lewis with a sense of humor. It's very dry and full of words and references that can easily sail over the average American's head.
Technically, Less Than Kind is stunning. Every piece stands alone and fits together perfectly. This is the finest crafted show I have seen in a long time. The set consists of a hardwood platform expertly decorated with 1940s style furniture and dressings, both the high class and working poor apartment scenes are beautifully created.
Also, the costume design is perfect. From Sir John Fletcher's long coat and top hat to Olivia Brown's poor housewife attire, Bruce Richard Coleman leaves no detail out. He even found ladies’ stockings with visible seams running up the back.
Marco Salinas’ sound design is wonderful as usual. The performance doesn't call for much in the way of effects, a phone ring and some old songs playing in the poor quality of the radio in the 1940s. However, the selection of music for the show is great, including the use of “Rule, Britannia” during the bows.
Lighting is fairly unremarkable for this show. There are no dark spots to distract the audience as the actors move around the stage and the lighting
is not so bright that it hurts to look.
The three main actors, Lisa-Gabrielle Greene, Zak Reynolds, and Paul T. Taylor, give superb performances. Not only do they effortlessly fly through pages of witty banter, they do so with believable accents. Their characters' relationships are realistic and appropriate. Their comedic timing to draw laughter from the audience is exquisite. Three better actors cannot be found to fill these parts.
Jenna Anderson, Krishna Smitha, and Gina Waits do equally well with their accent work, with Waits using an amazing Irish dialect. These parts, though small, could easily ruin the rest of the show if not performed up to the standard of Jac Alder's direction and the performances of the three leads. These three ladies are the epitome of a supporting cast.
Less Than Kind is a fabulous production, and one in which Jac Alder and all at Theatre Three should be proud. It is technically perfect with marvelous performances. However, it is very “British” and not action packed, relying heavily on the spoken word and presentation, which turns off some American audience members. If you're an Anglophile who is looking for a few good laughs, I highly recommend seeing this play.
Runs through March 30th
The play runs ThursdayandSundayat7:30pm, Friday and Saturday at 8:00pm, and Sunday matinée at 2:30pm. The Hooky Matinée is Wednesday, March 19th at 2:00 pm. An additional performance is Saturday, March 29th at 2:30 pm.
Tickets range from $17.00 - $50.00, depending on the day and seating. Sunday evening has the lowest-priced tickets, and Wednesday’s Hooky Matinée is only $10.00 - $15.00.Tickets may be purchased by callingT3’s box office at 214-871-3300,option#1, or by going online: http://www.theatre3dallas.com/