REVIEW: IT’S ONLY A PLAY at Vintage Theatre
by Emilee Hatfield
“There is no business like show business,” as the famous saying goes. To say this isn’t true could be an understatement during Vintage Theatre’s production of ITS ONLY A PLAY. Written by Terrence McNally and directed by Katie Mangett, this play has a very simple story about how people of the theatre predict and react to the critics reviews during an opening night party. This, while very interesting to thespians can be a very dangerous subject to tackle considering its topic, the audience, and the tiny elephant in the room (ME – the critic). The show itself is a comedy that is well written but clearly written for people that have worked in theatre. During the show I did feel a confusing sense and uneasiness within the audience when Broadway names and New York references were dropped and completely missed. What this show lacked was a nod to our hometown and comfort zone of Denver. Unfortunately, if you are not very knowledgeable in theatre you may not understand some of the delightful jokes in the show. Even with my vast knowledge and amusement for the show, I felt great sympathy for audience members that found themselves wanting to laugh but missed the setup.
Throughout the play we watch as the funny yet tired artisans of the theatre try to come to grips with the fact that their play may or may not be a hit. This, of course allows the actors to show off their comedic talents while also showing the darker, macabre side of the theatre world. This show is not for a younger audience, so keep that in mind.
The acting was well done by the entire cast, I have to say that the standout of the show was the performance by Seth Harris in the role of Gus P. Head; a wannabe actor that is checking coats for the many high profiled guests. His comedic timing was quite enjoyable and I found him incredibly charming. Having heard of the play prior, I was well aware of its star power during its Broadway run; with big names like Nathan Lane, Stockard Channing, Matthew Broderick and Megan Mullally. It made me smile knowing the Vintage Theatre found its own Nathan Lane within the hilarious Bernie Cardell playing the role James Wicker.
The show is clearly for people that know theatre incredibly well, and I do find it disheartening to see people not get the jokes and references that are made. On the flip side of the coin, this could also be used as a major benefit. The show could educate people on what the crazy mixed up realm of theatre and how over the top, overdramatic some people can be when it comes to someone else’s opinions. In today’s society this can be a very good lesson that many are in need of hearing and I praise the Vintage for taking this risk. This did bring about some relatable and conversational material and I thoroughly enjoy it.
It is a very well done production and if you are in the mood for a laugh and wish to understand what it is truly like to work in the world of theatre please stop by the Vintage and enjoy, IT’S ONLY A PLAY! The show will be running from June 9th- July 23rd, tickets at be purchased at http://www.vintagetheatre.com or by calling the theatre at 303.856.7830.