Hammond High does it right with `The Curious Savage'

review

Howard Live

November 18, 2005|By NED COLLINS-CHASE | NED COLLINS-CHASE,GLENELG COUNTRY SCHOOL

A mother with a fake child, a woman who hates everything, a man who plays screeching cacophonies on his violin are the roommates of Ethel Savage, the protagonist in The Curious Savage. Oddity was never far away in Hammond High's top-notch production last week of this wacky farce.

The Curious Savage, written by John Patrick, centers on the trials of the main character, Ethel (Elana Williams), and her attempts to foil the schemes of her stepchildren to snatch a $10 million inheritance from her. Angered by Ethel's squandering the money on whims, the three greedy heirs have her committed to a mental hospital. After befriending the patients, Ethel must find a way to escape and keep the money from the stepchildren.

The production's greatest strengths were its interactions among characters, hilarious ensemble moments and seamless transitions between the two. Williams, as Ethel, captured the demeanor of a frail, old woman. Her responses to the other characters and their behavior was well-timed and offered insight into the unfolding drama.

The ensemble groups were split into two categories: the institution's patients and the Savage children. The patients, or "guests," were a colorful group of absurd characters. Between the wild imagination of Fairy May (Ayma Rouhani) and the screechy violin playing of Hannibal (John Hamilton), there was never a dull moment. The patients' actions disconcerted the snooty, blue-blood stepchildren. An occasional scream of shock from Lily Belle (Kelsey Girard) or an indignant rant from Senator Titus (Jeremy Brickey) at the actions of the patients energized the interplay.

The set, created by Shane Wieman, created a unique atmosphere. The sound and light crews' timing - never lagging on a telephone ring or blackout - added a touch of realism.

As presented by Hammond's impressive cast and crew, The Curious Savage was a bright, funny romp. Timing and attention to detail never flagged.

Ned Collins-Chase, a junior at Glenelg Country School, reviewed "The Curious Savage." for the Cappies of Baltimore, a program in which students review high school productions under the direction of their teachers and vote on awards for outstanding performances.

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