“The Way of the World” at the Whitmore-Lindley Theatre Center
Theatre Unleashed presents “The Way of the World” by William Congreve (1700) and is adapted and directed by Colleen Reilly. The play is set in modern-day Los Angeles, with less of the fluff from over 300 years ago, but not entirely.
The prologue is delivered in the old stilted language, taking some time for the ears to adjust. Mirabell (Phillip Kelly), the hero of the play, is in love with Millamant (Linda Coe). Millamant is unable to marry who she pleases, since her fortune is controlled by her aunt, Lady Wishfort (Marsha Loring). In order to gain her consent, Mirabell conceives a complicated scheme. His servant Waitwell (Ben Atkinson) is to pretend to be Mirabell’s rich uncle and court Lady Wishfort. When she discovers the truth, she will be forced to allow the marriage to avoid the shame of public exposure. To make sure of Waitwell’s loyalty, Mirabell marries him to Lady Wishfort’s maid, so that any marriage between him and Lady Wishfort is invalid.
The play is full of lust, love, schemes, bawdy jokes and snappy dialogue delivered by some accomplished actors, namely Marsha Loring as Lady Wishfort, a sympathetic character who evokes pity in her desperate attempt to look young and sexy for Sir Rowland, the phony suitor. Linda Coe as Millamant shines trying to discourage Mirabell with her list of conditions should they marry; Karen Baughn is a strong Marwood and Phillip Kelly (Mirabell) has perfect enunciation throughout. Original music is performed and sung by Lu Vasquez.
“The Way of the World” is at the Whitmore-Lindley Theatre Center (11006 Magnolia Blvd., in North Hollywood). Performances are Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., and Sundays at 7 p.m., ending April 19. Tickets are $25. For tickets, call (818) 849-4039.