- CHARITY BENEFIT
The Mint Theatre always manages to do the most with the space using innovative settings and perfect period costumes. Their newest show Mary Broome is no exception. Alan Monkhouse’s drama is subtly drawn out under Jonathan Bank’s direction. This is class struggle at its best and with The Heiress coming to Broadway this show is perfectly timed.
Like “Abingdon Abbey,” Mary Broome is set in northern England, in the home of the Timbrell family. With the wedding of Edgar (Rod Brogan), and his fiancée Sheila Ray (Julie Jesneck) underway, black sheep Leonard (Roderick Hill), has “compromised” the maid Mary Broome (Janie Brookshire). Furious and hoping to teach his son a lesson, his father (Graeme Malcolm) forces Leonard to marry the pregnant girl.
Promised an annual 300 pound income, if he does and to be cut off if not, Leonard marries but his father, his sister Ada (Katie Fabel), Edgar (Rod Brogan), and Sheila Ray (Julie Jesneck) all treat the couple with shame.
The marriage seems to have bound Leonard and Mary as they come to love each other. At a family dinner, not shortly after their marriage, Leonard insults his father by stating that his mother (Kristin Griffith) is her own person. The father, furious, reneges on the money leaving the couple penniless. Mrs. Trimbrell helps out but the child is born sickly and needs more than the two can provide. Leonard’s lack of interest in earning a living, as he revels in it leaving mother and child to fend for themselves as he parties with his friends, is unforgivable. His arrogance does not endear this character to the audience. The two characters we sympathize with never are given a moment in the dialogue to really speak out and thus the play itself lacks interest.
The cast does well with the material but it is Roger Hanna’s set, especially the portraits who speak the most silently.
Mary Broome: Mint Theater, 311 W. 43rd St. Until Oct. 14th