When you walk into the main stage at the WaterTower Theatre, you are simply overwhelmed by Clare Floyd DeVries' magnificent set for its current production of Humble Boy
. Miss DeVries has created a complete English garden down to each meticulous detail. The set is more than inviting—it envelopes us and welcomes us into the inner lives of the Humble and Pye families.
Humble Boy had its world premiere at the Royal National Theatre in 2001 and had a brief run Off-Broadway two years later. The plot concerns a grieving son grieving for his father and how he and his mother work together to forge a new relationship. Its rollicking comic moments are matched by its gripping dramatic ones.
The cast of Humble Boy is simply splendid. As Felix Humble, the troubled son, Thomas Ward dazzled with emotion. Through fervent line readings and anguished expressions, Mr. Ward more than adequately displayed the anguish of Felix. Mr. Ward was matched by Cindy Beall's effective portrayal of his mother, Flora Humble. Miss Beall caught both the world weary self-depreciating side of Flora as well as her vulnerability brilliantly. Lisa Fairchild's turn as Mercy was a positive riot, including her special Grace which stopped the play in the Second Act.
Terry Martin's sharp direction of Humble Boy greatly added to the enjoyment. He caught both the comedic and dramatic sides of the story well and never let one overpower the other. Humble Boy is really a series of character studies, and Mr. Martin lets in inside each character so the proper empathy is elicited.
In addition to the tremendous set already mentioned, the WaterTower production of Humble Boy also benefits from fitting costumes by Michael A. Robinson on and appropriate dramatic lighting from Susan A. White. A special note of appreciation goes to Lorna Woodford as dialogue coach. Under Miss Woodford's guidance, all the players sound like native Brits and not Americans self-consciously using stage accents!
WaterTower Humble Boy's intriguing portrayal of family relationships makes for an evening filled with agreeable moments of touching hilarity and beautiful sensibility.
Humble Boy will play at WaterTower Theatre through February 11. For more information, please visit their website.
Please Note: This production contains brief adult language.
Photo Credit: Mark Oristano