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The Ruffian on the Stair

ensemble theatre · hicks street productions · Ages 12+ · 1hr · United States of America

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Review by CHARLES ZIARKO

June 10, 2019 certified reviewer

What I liked

The unusually detailed (for a Fringe production) set and the excellence of “Mike” (Bryan Foster) and “Joyce” (Sile Bermingham) as cheerless mid-century Brits.

What I didn't like

Reed Michael Campbell seems to be an OK actor, but not convincingly cast in this cheerlessly authentic 1950s lower-class British setting.

My overall impression

Fans of Joe Orton’s wild half-century-old social satires, like me, won’t want to miss this, his rarely-performed first sale, a BBC radio play later revised for the stage. NOT a 90-minute show, though, as advertised, but 5 “acts” in just 52 minutes—-4 of them run less than 8 minutes each. It’s the Orton-to-be, not the roughly-polished soon-to-be playwright. Reed Michael Campbell seems to be obtrusive casting in the abbreviated title role, a Hollywood surfer wedged in between two Actor’s Studio alums who perfectly play lower-class Brits in a detailed set that’s swell. Kudos to Bryan Foyster (also the producer) and Sile Bermingham for capturing their characters to the last nuance!

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