Sunday, October 21, 2012

Review of Shaw Chicago's The Millionairess

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called The Millionairess. And it was at the Ruth Page Theatre. Actually, the review of Harold and the Purple Crayon, the previous review that I wrote, I saw that play two days before I saw this one at the same theater. Coincidence, isn't it? This is a staged reading, and when you go to a staged reading sometimes they are just wearing their regular clothes and sometimes they are wearing costumes. In this, they were wearing costumes. When you go into it, you see a bunch of music stands because they are going to put their scripts on them and read from them, and that is why it is called a reading--because they are reading from their scripts. This play was written by Bernard Shaw. My experience with Bernard Shaw is that I have seen My Fair Lady which is based on a play called Pygmalion which is by Bernard Shaw. It kind of sounds like a pig and a chameleon put together, but that is not at all what it is about. The Millionairess is actually what you think it is going to be about: a millionairess. It is also about breaking up and lawyers, which can be confusing for kids my age. But it is mostly about a millionairess (Lydia Berger Gray), so I mostly understood it. And when you go in, I think you will be surprised about how well the actors do their parts even though it is a staged reading--and usually you wouldn't think a staged reading would have such good casting.

The Egyptian Doctor (Mark Plonsky) was a really funny character because he was serious--but also funny at the same time. He was like, "Oh. Nothing wrong with you! Good morning!" I thought it was funny because the millionairess, Epifania Ognisanti di Parerga, was like, "Look! I really have something wrong with me!" but he didn't trust her because she was just trying to be interesting. In the program, it just says Egyptian Doctor. It says Egyptian Doctor, because you don't find out what his name is. Because she says when she asks him to marry her, "ascertain his name and make the arrangements." It is funny because she doesn't even know his name as she's marrying him.

The lawyer (Joseph Bowen) you wouldn't suspect would actually be funny, but he was actually one of the funniest characters in the play. I liked that when Epifania said "I'm going to commit suicide, and I'd like to leave all my money to my husband,"he was like, "Oh you want to commit suicide? Here's some medicine that will kill you lickety split." And then she was like, "Don't you have any sympathy for me at all?" And he says, "I do have sympathy for you. You just said you wanted to commit suicide, and I am trying to help." And then she calls him a rhinoceros. I don't know why she calls him a rhinoceros; I think it is about the meanness, because rhinoceroses can be pretty mean. But I think it would be a better thing to say if he smelled bad, because rhinoceroses smell disgusting.

Epifania has a very strange relationship with her husband Alastair (Gary Alexander). It is weird because she is leaving all the money to her husband and she hates him because she thought he was going to be very romantic but he wasn't at all. I think he wasn't the best type for her because she only cared about money and he only cared about boxing and sports. Alastair had a girlfriend which was called a Sunday wife. The girlfriend's name was Patricia Smith (Jhenai Mootz). And he like ran off to her to become husband and wife but Epifania was kind of a Sunday wife to another man Adrian Blenderbland (Jonathan Nichols). I thought Patricia was funny, like when she said "And I ran to his arms and we embraced, but not like the way that you think of embracing." Blenderbland is always talking about how money isn't important at all, but it is when you need it. Like you need to get new food all the time and you need to get new clothes that fit you. I think that if anyone was actually doing anything wrong it was Alastair because he was actually dating someone and Epifania was only going to Blenderbland for help.

There was a part that was touching, and funny and weird all at the same time. The scene starts with Patricia and Alastair sitting in a hotel somewhere, maybe a hot tub, I'm not sure. And the part that was really touching, funny, and weird was when the Egyptian doctor goes up to Epifania and she says, "Check my pulse!" And then he checks her pulse and says, "That's the most beautiful pulse I've ever heard." And then they get married. It was touching because they got married and it was funny because they got married so suddenly. And it was weird because he married her for a pulse.

People that would like this show are people that like staged readings, trying to get new boyfriends, and really really long names. One thing that was interesting about it is that Shaw makes his characters talk in a different way than we actually do in real life--in a very opera like way. I mean that they talk exaggeratedly. And that is really fun to see in a play. I liked how they could make a staged reading into more of a play because they made costumes that looked like that time period and their performances I thought were great. People should see this show because it is fun and it gets you really interested in the plot of the story.

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