'Journey's End' review

  • Robert Scott Hitcho (left) and Greg Guyton star in "Journey's End" at Fells Point Corner Theatre.
Robert Scott Hitcho (left) and Greg Guyton star in "Journey's… (Photo by Ken Stanek )
May 20, 2010|By Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun

"Journey's End," R.C. Sherriff's often-revived play from 1928, is set in the trenches of World War I. Focusing on a British infantry unit, where class distinctions are neatly maintained and personal battles can be intense inside the dugout, this incisive work largely avoids cliché and contrivance, even when dealing with the inevitable deaths.

Fells Point Corner Theatre's staging of "Journey's End" reflects well on the company (and reaffirms the value of community theater). Some scenes could be punched up or more layered, but director Richard Dean Stover has the action flowing in straightforward fashion on Kathi Panos' atmospheric set, and he draws mostly smooth performances from the cast.

Andrew Macomber anchors the production with his assured work as Stanhope, the young, bottled-up company commander who learns to hide his fear, but not his annoyance at the arrival of a former schoolmate named Raleigh. Although Alex Hayes is a little stiff, he gets across Raleigh's naiveté tellingly. As Osbourne, the amiable "uncle" of the outfit, Greg Guyton's sensitive portrayal is a major plus. When Osbourne advises Raleigh to think of the war as romantic ("It helps"), Guyton subtly lets you feel the futility of that illusion.

Randy Dalmas provides abundant color as the nonchalant Trotter, and Robert Scott Hitcho is amusing as Mason, the cook who can serve even "yellow soup" with conviction. One wrong note: an overly weepy captured German soldier (Ryan Brown); a few whimpers would suffice.

Well-chosen, pre-act music sets the mood (especially John McCormack's recordings), but I wish the subsequent battle noises could be in visceral surround-sound.

If you go: "Journey's End" runs through June 6 at Fells Point Corner Theatre, 251 S. Ann St. Tickets are $10 to $17, available online at fpct.org.

-- Tim Smith

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