Performing Arts
© Mike Keenan

This CEO is well worth the money and far, far more!

In Shaw's 50th anniversary season, Artistic Director, Jackie Maxwell revives a sure thing, The President, a homerun from 2008. She explains, "The dazzling combo of Morwyn Brebner's fizzing adaptation, Lorne Kennedy's tarantella-like performance, surrounded by ensemble members changing hats on a dime under Blair William's direction was perfection that simply demanded to be seen again!"

Perfection for sure! For Kennedy, it's a one-man tour de force, and he dazzles as he did in 2008. The play hinges on the fact that he is a powerful bank president and when the young heiress under his care announces her secret marriage to a Communist taxi driver, the Chief Executive must act quickly, forgoing a much-needed and deserved vacation. Like Professor Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady, he completely transforms an unsuitable male character into a perfectly well-bred, well-dressed, well-spoken son-in-law, all in under an hour!

Lorne Kennedy Andrew Bunker as The Tailor, Julie Martell as Lydia, Jeff Meadows as Tony Foot and Kevin Hanchard as Dr Faber Jenny L. Wright as Miss Petrovich and Lorne Kennedy as Norrison Julie Martell as Lydia and Lorne Kennedy as Norrison Blair Williams

Lorne Kennedy is brilliant in this one-act, lunchtime play, a must-see who provokes an underling to muse, "It must be very wonderful, sir, to have almost all mankind at your disposal."

With his company a well-oiled machine and everything going well, you know that as in Macbeth, something wicked this way comes. Lydia (Julie Martell) under his charge, is the daughter of a tycoon, an important business connection for Norrison (Kennedy). Lydia announces that her parents are arriving within the hour, that she's in love with a man, actually that she married him four months ago, and in addition that he's poor, a cab driver, a revolutionary and a communist, but "with ambition." To add a tad more pressure, she admits that she is pregnant. The groom is brought in and we discover his unfortunate name: Tony Foot (Jeff Meadows).

Norrison's whirlwind transformation leaps into action, a Pygmalion in quick time as he presses his desk buzzer, assembles his troops and starts barking non-stop commands, the frantic pace escalating into warp speed to the very end as he transforms Foot into Count Von Schottenburg! The changes are prodigious: clothes, hair, where Foot lives, his social position, a new father, new job, new car, publicity in newspapers and magazines, and the ability to speak about everything from politics to science to art in a few easy sentences.

Lorne Kennedy as Norrison Lorne Kennedy as Norrison and Michael Ball as Count von Schottenberg Lorne Kennedy as Norrison, Julie Martell as Lydia and Michael Ball as Count von Schottenberg Cast Members Assembled Like Troops Lorne Kennedy as Norrison

Blair Williams' hilarious direction abetted with an ensemble with more bench depth than that of the Yankees and Red Sox combined are wonderful to watch. Jeff Meadows provides a metamorphosis that milks every laugh as he trades in his soul and revolutionary principles with equal aplomb, emerging as an instant capitalist, Ambassador Anton von Schottenberg.

Take in the play. It's great fun!

The President by Ferenc Molnár, adapted by Morwyn Brebner, directed by Blair Williams, June 3 to October 9, Royal George Theatre. See:

Copyright © ~ What Travel Writers Say ~ All Rights Reserved.
Contact WTWS