Nancy Sasso Janis
OnStage Connecticut Critic / Connecticut Critics Circle
Southington, CT - ‘The Clean House’ is a play written by Sarah Ruhl that was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and made its world premiere at Yale Repertory Theatre in New Haven. The production that runs at The Arts at Angeloria’s is under the direction of Elyse Lachapelle (who appeared in ‘Tommy’ and ‘Mame’ at this venue) in her directorial debut. The director appreciated this work for its comedy and the roles it offers for mature actors; she collaborated with technical director Christopher Zajac and producer Lori Holm.
The play is a whimsical romantic comedy that centers on Matilde (played by Tara Binder) a cleaning woman from Brazil who in fact doesn’t like to clean and would rather be a comedian. She works for Lane, a doctor who is married to Charles, also a doctor. Virginia (played well by Dr. Carol Grant, who returns to the stage after a 40 hiatus) is Lane’s sister and not a doctor. Elizabeth Reynolds plays both Charles’ patient Ana and Matilde’s mother in memory scenes.
Ms. Binder does well in her debut at this venue as the maid in this house that needs to be cleaned. Virginia Wolf is equally as strong as the doctor who isn’t really comfortable giving orders to her maid. She notes in her bio that she is happy to have found this “wonderful little theater that does big things.”
Rick Bebee (‘Mame’) plays both Charles and Matilde’s father and doesn’t get a line until the second act, when he has some funny entrances. Everyone in this small cast appeared to be very well-rehearsed in this touching and funny play and at the curtain call took their well-deserved bows. The packed matinee audience called them back for another bow.
Ed Rosenblatt coordinated the music. Ms. Holm, the artistic director of The Arts at Angeloria’s, designed the small stage. Kate Simpson served as stage manager for the first time and Juliana Aulbach (‘Mame’) and Alexandra Carabetta served as quiet stage hands.
‘The Clean House’ is presented in two acts with an intermission during which I encourage you to explore the Victorian home. The Arts at Angeloria’s LLC is an eclectic, Victorian-era for events, entertainment and instruction in a rustic, park-like setting located right off 691 in Southington. It is very easy to find and has plenty of parking behind the house. .
Photo courtesy of The Arts at Angeloria's