By Bea Wolff
Award-winning playwright Timothy McNeil takes his place along side the finest Southern playwrights with his latest offering, “The Charm of Making.” Steeped in the rich tradition of a Mississippi small town, Mr. McNeil’s play captures the poetic language and complex yearnings of the Randolph family, whose members try in various ways to find love by breaking free from the curse that has consumed them for generations.
Directed with sensitivity by Academy Award-winner Milton Justice, the top-rate cast is able to express emotions ranging from tenderness to explosiveness that define the moments of the Randolphs’ trapped existence. Thor Edgell plays the likeable Elvin with tragic vulnerability as he grapples with his integrity. He is encouraged by his elderly aunt, Lottie, played with depth by May Quigley Goodman. When Lottie dances with 18-year-old Cameron, gently portrayed by Nicholas Hargous, the result is not only touching but remarkable, as the old woman transforms into a young girl in front of our eyes. Elvin’s soul mate is his tortured sister, the witch Morgan, played with abandon by Bonnie McNeil. Rounding out the excellent cast is Matthew Oliva, as Morgan’s abused lover; Jon Boatwright, as brother Samuel Randolph, an ambitious Baptist preacher; T.M. Rawlins, as Samuel’s witty wife; Alfredo J. Orrego, as a charming French outsider; and Timothy McNeil as Romeo & Juliet, the spirit of star-crossed love.
“The Charm of Making” launches the inaugural season of the new professional theatre company called the Stella Adler-Los Angeles Theatre Collective, under the leadership of Artistic Director John Jack Rodgers.
“The Charm of Making” plays at the Stella Adler-Los Angeles Theatre at 6773 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood through April 25. Performance schedule is Friday and Saturday at 8:00 PM; and Sunday at 7:00 PM. Tickets are $20.00 and are available by calling 323-960-7735 or by visiting www.Plays411.com/thecharm. For additional information, call 323-465-4446 or visit www.StellaAdler-LA.com.