Southampton Cultural Center’s Center Stage is now presenting Edward Albee’s play, A Delicate Balance, directed by Joan M. Lyons. Opening night was a total success that had the audience and this reviewer standing and applauding. Albee’s writing is brilliant, however it was the combined skills and talents of the director and cast that launches this production into a must-see category.
Every show has an individual who stands out and at the time carries the show with their talent alone. This was not the case on opening night, as all cast members seem to be “on,” with a flow of energy that kept everyone in the audience concentrating on every powerfully poetic lines of Albee’s in this play.
Bonnie Grice, no stranger to SCC audiences, plays Agnes brilliantly. Grice moves about the stage as if she built it. Her confidence, her emotions and shear power of personality generates a special energy that the rest of the actors not only fed off, but were able to add some specialness of their own. Grice’s live theater acting talents seem to grow with every production she is in. She just keeps raising the bar.
John Leonard as Tobias, in my opinion, gives his best performance to date at SCC. His ease of playing Tobias and his dignity on stage added to the emotions he put into every line, every movement, every second in the show. I tip my hat to him and say, Bravo!
Kristin Whiting, another well-known SCC actor, plays Claire. Again, I must state this was her best performance in any role that I have witnessed. She owned the stage and her physical comedy skills matched the part of being Claire. I must give credit to Director Joan M. Lyons for giving Kristin the opportunity to shine so brightly in this production. However, it is Kristin who nailed her performance to award winning categories.
Tamara Salkin plays Julia, the 36-year-old daughter of Agnes and Tobias. Again, another well-known SCC actor, Salkin adds some sizzle to the production both in moment and also in wardrobe. Tamara Salkin has a magic that when she enters a scene you just can’t help but notice her every movement. She has a talent of emoting without saying anything and has a unique brand of stage presence. Something I believe you are born with and cannot be taught.
Scott Wilson, who plays Harry, brings a soft vulnerable, delicate yet powerful performance to this show. He and JoAnna Mincarelli, who plays his wife Edna, bring something wonderful to the show. Although their time onstage is the shortest, they still bring verb and delicate vulnerability to the production. I applaud their teamwork that added to the overall cast energy and the magic that makes this production a success.
One constant about any Joan M. Lyons directed play is this: She picks good material. She picks great actors and then she uses her gift of vision and organizational skills to create a special live show. She works hard at her craft and her successes are gifts to all who love great live theater.
Please do yourself a service and go see A Delicate Balance at the Southampton Cultural Center. It’s Broadway quality, but so affordable. You may run into me; I am definitely seeing this a second time.
Performances of A Delicate Balance will run Friday, January 10 through Sunday, January 26, with performances on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 7 p.m., and Sundays at 2 p.m.
General admission is $25 and student and group rates available. Brunch/theater and dinner theater packages available at five different local restaurants.
This is one show I plan on seeing more than once.
Southampton Cultural Center is located at 25 Pond Lane in Southampton. For more information, call 631-287-4377 or visit www.scc-arts.org.