The Star-Spangled Girl

Reviewed by Iris Winston

Categories: Summer Theatre 2013

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Photo courtesy of the Perth  Classic Festival

The Star-Spangled Girl has never been considered one of Neil Simon’s stronger plays — even by Simon, who is reported as saying that he “knew it didn’t have the body” to be “a powerful comedy.”

The 1966 script contains a number of the playwright’s trademark one-liners, but is tentative in stepping into political waters, despite the fact that the storyline supposedly focuses on two radicals publishing a protest magazine in San Francisco.

Any radical views have little punch mainly because Simon is really writing a cute love-triangle comedy in which the only near-political comment is when Sophie, the southern-belle patriot, says she would fight for freedom of speech, no matter how wrong the views expressed.

Despite the title, this play does not sparkle. Nevertheless, the Classic Theatre Festival production, directed by Laurel Smith, is still bubbly and quite entertaining, particularly in the faster-moving second act.

Richard Gelinas, as the lovesick Norman, Kate Gordon as the traditional southerner and Trevor Pease as the straight man of the trio all deliver strong performances, enhanced by good visuals and effective stage business.

But a good ensemble production can carry weak material only part of the way and The Star-Spangled Girl remains something of a disappointment.

The Classic Theatre Festival production of The Star-Spangled Girl continues at the Full Circle Theatre, Perth, to August 4.

Classic Theatre Festival

Full Circle Theatre, Perth

Star-Spangled Girl by Neil Simon

Director: Laurel Smith

Set and lighting: David Magladry

Sound: Matthew Behrens

Costumes: Renate Seller

Cast:

Andy Hobart…………………Trevor Pease

Norman Cornell………………Richard Gelinas

Sophie Rauschmeyer…………Kate Gordon


Past Reviews