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The script, the show and the incredible actress

By |2007-08-16T09:00:00-04:00August 16th, 2007|Entertainment|

By Robert W. Bethune

In Robert Hewett’s “The Blonde, The Brunette and the Vengeful Redhead,” Lucy Peacock plays all three and a disturbed child, a scummy husband, a grieving doctor and a bitter old woman as well in a wonderfully Protean tour de force. It’s actually a little scary; we tend to think of identity as fixed, and here’s this actress changing identities at will.
So, as a performance, it’s wonderful. As a theater piece, some things don’t work. Geordie Johnson directs and Kimberly Purtell designed the lighting and Michael Gianfrancesco designed everything else. Visually, the production starts with a bare stage with a back wall. The wall is split, video up top, shadow-screen below. We see Peacock’s shadow as she changes costume for each new character. The idea is interesting once, but by the time we see it the sixth time, it isn’t any more. Music and video projections help cover the costume changes but are not particularly interesting. The most effective choice of designer and director is the geometric way the props make an effective visual statement of the structure of the play.
The text is not a play. It is narrative prose fiction, right down to “he said” and “she said” for direct quotations. Each character is presented in one long monologue. Hewett’s attention is firmly focused on the inner psychology of each character; the interactions between them get very little. In short, what we have is a modern short novel placed on stage. That is not a sound basis for theater, nor is it dictated by the needs of a solo performance, as plays like Aldyth Morris’ “Damien” prove. It works because Lucy Peacock makes it work.

‘The Blonde, The Brunette and the Vengeful Redhead’
Stratford Festival of Canada at the Studio Theatre. In repertory, Tues.-Sun., through Sept. 2. Tickets: $23-$108 Canadian. For information: 800-567-1600 or

About the Author:

BTL Staff
Between The Lines has been publishing LGBTQ-related content in Southeast Michigan since the early '90s. This year marks the publication's 27th anniversary.