Women Out Of Time (Boston Theatre Review)

Review by Willard Manus

Boston can't match New York or L.A. in the quantity of theatre it generates, but it more than makes up for it in quality, especially if you take into account the excellent regional companies operating within an hour or two of the city. The Provincetown Playhouse, for example, recently mounted a staged reading of O'Neill's LONG DAY'S JOURNEY INTO NIGHT with novelist Norman Mailer performing one of the lead roles backed up by various members of his family. The $150-a-ticket event was a fundraiser for the Rep, whose artistic director is Mailer's wife, Norris Church.

The Williamstown Theatre Festival also got into the act with its own fundraiser, THE CHEKHOV CYCLE. Spread out over five evenings, the staged readings of such plays as The Cherry orchard and The Seagull starred Olympia Dukakis, Louis Zorich, Blythe Danner and Austin Pendleton, among others.

On Charles Street, Boston's Broadway, theatregoers can choose from such ongoing local productions as Mel Brooks' THE PRODUCERS, starring Brad Oscar as Max Bialystock and Andy Taylor as Leo Bloom, STOMP. SHEAR MADNESS and BLUE MAN GROUP. This past summer also saw lots of free Shakespeare-in-the-park productions, such as MACBETH and A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM.

Little theatre abounds as well. At the Lyric Stage Company, I caught a new play by octogenarian playwright, Shirley Timmreck. CIRCLES OF TIME is set in a Baton Rouge retirement home where three golden girls are given a shot of new-age spirituality by newcomer Louise Linsley (June Lewin) that jolts them out of their depressed states of mind and reminds them that even old biddies can reinvent themselves. Although short on action and long on sentimentality, CIRCLES OF TIME was saved from sappiness by the playwright's light touch and by the equally deft acting of Lewin, Robbie McCauley, George Pendleton III, Sydelle Pittas, Patricia Pellows, Alice Duffy, Lynne Moulton and Eliza Rose Fichter.

Daniel Gidron directed for Kaplan/Bullin Productions, a new Boston-based company headed by director Mort Kaplan and playwright Ed Bullins.

The Lyric Stage Company is located in the YWCA building at 140 Clarendon St. Call (617) 536-2768