[NoHo Arts District, CA] – A NoHo Arts theatre review of the Group Rep’s production of “Morning’s at Seven” by Paul Osborn, directed by Doug Engalla, produced by Alyson York Lonny Chapman Theatre through July 16.
“Morning’s at Seven” is a slow burn of a play. Written 96 years ago, this sweetly funny and surprisingly modern piece is the story of the four Gibbs sisters. Three married, one not, they all live in the same small community. Two of them in houses side by side, connected by their back gardens. The eldest lives just up the hill with her aloof professor husband and their lives are perennially connected, as families often are.
There is of course much more to their stories than that. Ancient rivalries, old loves, a little light bickering. But, for the most part, they are close. However, as they have aged, what once were charming character foibles are now closer to neuroses. They fuss a little more and worry too much. There is only one child. A grown son, Homer, whose mother frets far too much over him and whose father has ‘turns.’ Which has produced a son who is unable to fully commit to his long-term fiancée and is a total stick in the mud.
The “Morning’s at Seven” plot is set around all Homer finally bringing his fiancée home to meet everyone and the chaos this brings and so it is all talk, talk, talk. Which I love in play myself, and it is especially wonderful in a play of this age. Utterly fascinating how little families have changed over the years. How our lives are much the same as they ever were, in spite of cell phones and cars and TV. We are all still at the mercy of our own minds and the influence of others’ usually highly over-active imagination.
What is this play about I hear you ask? Well, I suppose it’s about how much time is wasted on assumptions and how much better off we would all be if we really talked to each other. There’s a heavy Chekhov influence in the characters and the nuance of their world. And I adore Chekhov, so I was happily entranced.
The cast was perfectly suited to their roles. Funny, anxious, very relatable. I have two sisters and I can promise you the relationships these lovely actors created seemed very real and very believable. In fact, I loved to see that on the stage. A family of women, not perfect, not manic or hateful either. Just people trying their best to be happy and kind and mostly succeeding.
“Morning’s at Seven” is a lovely surprise of a play from the great people at Group Rep and I recommend it. Spend a couple of hours in the company of some very interesting people…
The Group Rep production of “Morning’s at Seven” features the talents of Barbara Brownell (Ida), Milda Dacys (Cora), Jeff Dinnell (Homer), Dawn Halloran (Arry), Belinda Howell (Esther), Stan Mazin (David), Bridget Murray (Myrtle), Lloyd Pedersen (Carl) and Neil Thompson (Thor).
The Production Team
The production team includes Mareli Mitchel-Shields (Set Design), Robbie Myles (Lighting Design), Michael Mullen (Costume Design), J.C. Gafford (Sound Design), Anica Petrovic (Hair & Make-up Design), Bita Arefnia (Assistant Director), John Ledley (Stage Manager), Kristin Stancato (Online Marketing), Doug Haverty (Graphic Design), Doug Engalla (Promotional Video/Photography), Tilly Ye (Assistant Stage Manager), “GRT Social Media” Denise Downer, Michael Gabiano and Jackie Shearn.
Through July 16. Friday and Saturday @ 8pm and Sunday @ 2pm
Lonny Chapman Theatre
10900 Burbank Blvd. North Hollywood, CA 91601