Regional Reviews: Florida - West Coast
The two adversaries, General Butler, portrayed by Eric Hoffmann, and Shepard Mallory, portrayed by Shane Taylor, square off against each other in several exasperating confrontations. The writing in these scenes is particularly strong. There is someone in my own life who can cause me this same angst as we seem not to be able to truly understand each other's point of view. Butler is all bluster, used to controlling the courtroom, while Mallory has to be decidedly nimble of mind, careful to stay clear of offense to the white man. Both actors give strong performances. Joe Ditmyer plays Lieutenant Kelly, the General's aide-de-camp, a graduate of West Point who finds himself serving below his capabilities. His eyes going back and forth from Mallory to Butler is a lesson in fine reacting, focusing the attention on where the interesting thoughts are occurring. Jim Sorensen, Associate Managing Director in his FST stage debut (he has performed very capably on many other area stages), plays Major Cary.
Jason Cannon, an Associate Artist at FST, directs capably, keeping the pace lively. Moriah and Isabel Curley-Clay have provided a richly detailed setting for the action, Donna Riggs has coordinated the costumes, and Richard T. Chamblin III has designed the lighting. Whoever is responsible for Mr. Hoffman's hair styling (or is it a wig, it was really hard to tell) deserves a round of kudos.
Butler is representative of Florida Studio Theatre's finest work, a well chosen play, thought provoking, yet entertaining in a fine production.
Florida Studio Theatre presents Butler through February 26, 2016, at the Keating Theater 1241 N. Palm Avenue, Sarasota. For tickets and performance information, please call the box office at (941) 366-9000 or visit www.floridastudiotheatre.org.
Cast (In order of appearance):
Directed by Jason Cannon