Grey Gardens is the final 2011 performance by the Production Company and what better way to close the year than with a mother-daughter story starring Pamela Rabe and Nancy Hayes.
Set in Georgica Pond, East Hampton, this American tale captures the demise of youth, talent and, of course, riches. The play is based upon the true story of Edith Bouvier Beale and her daughter Little Edie (respectively Aunt and cousin of Jackie Kennedy Onassis).
The story of the tragic unravelling of the American dream has become a historical phenomenon that has inspired documentaries, stage adaptations, and musicals. Rabe and Hayes are both excellent performers and give the roles charisma and potency.
However, a lack of rehearsal limited what should have been an outstanding performance, particularly in a few key songs. The second half was clearly the better of the two and the outstanding performer of the evening was J.V ‘Major’ Bouvier (John O’May) whose powerful voice laced meaning and emotion into a well-crafted character.
Of the three, Edith’s younger version of ‘Little Edie’, played by Liz Stiles, was the most convincing, albeit some slight pitch wavering and occasional wooden moments. The projection and lighting was brilliant and the concert version with the orchestra upstage worked well for the most part. The ensemble was excellent, though perhaps musical cues were not as prompt as they should be.
Overall, an interesting choice of production to close the year. Much can be expected in 2012.