Tuesday, November 16, 2010

First Day of School : City Lights Theatre Company : A Star is Formed

In the tradition of the British sex romp, there is no actual sex on display, let alone nudity, in this very funny American variation. Nonetheless, the underlying theme of repressed passion in suburbia is ubiquitous, and on occasion downright palpable.

The cast is uniformly fine, and work together well. Each member of the ensemble hits their marks and reads their lines with sufficient comic timing and humorous acumen to tickle the funny bone more often than not-sometimes mercilessly!

But, I have to say, Mandy Manousos is in a league all her own. To extend the baseball metaphor, she hits her character out of the park. I’ve observed this phenomenon before, and when I do it’s an utter joy to behold. Some refer to it, simply enough, as the “it” factor.

I don’t have the facility with words to adequately describe it, but when witnessed one can’t help but recognize how special it is. It’s a singular, magical quality that transcends mere acting talent. It’s an uncanny ability to make the absurd seem real. The evocation is never artificial, but comes from a vulnerable space that few are prepared to reveal. You can’t take your eyes off her.

In the event she has the appropriate ambition, and fate bestows upon her the opportunity, stardom is inevitable. I’m so happy to have gazed upon this star so early in her formation.

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