Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: Los Angeles

The Little FoxesAntaeus Theatre Company
Review by Terry Morgan


Rob Nagle, Deborah Puette and Mike McShane
Photo by Geoffrey Wade Photography
Sometimes a play simply works within its own era, and exists later simply as an accurate representation of that time. But other times a play is prescient, and seems as if it was written directly to comment on today. Although Lillian Hellman's The Little Foxes is a period piece, its portrait of dreadful people doing awful things in the pursuit of money and power feels particularly pointed now, when oligarchs are openly running our country for their own profits. The current production by the Antaeus Theatre Company is superb, bringing the play to dark-humored, vitriolic life.

In the deep South of 1900, the Hubbard family is financially doing well, but they are determined to do better at any cost. Ben (Mike McShane) and Oscar (Rob Nagle) have set up a deal with a Northern businessman that will make them rich, but they need to put up a certain amount of money first. The deal won't work unless their sister Regina (Deborah Puette) provides her third of the money, which needs to come from her estranged husband Horace (John DeMita). Unfortunately, Horace wants nothing to do with any of this arrangement, and says no. He has no idea how far Regina will go to get what she wants.

Puette, one of the best actresses in Los Angeles theatre, gets the maximum value from every sharp line as the sociopathic Regina, exuding an implacable self-confidence even as the character has to quickly adjust to changing circumstances. McShane ably reveals the monster beneath the seemingly reasonable Ben, and Nagle excels as the manipulative Oscar. Jocelyn Towne is excellent as the febrile Birdie, a storm of nervous energy that has no place to go. Finally, DeMita is a revelation as Horace, bringing fury and empathy to the role in what is the best performance I've seen yet from this actor.

Director Cameron Watson gets stellar performances across the board from his cast and paces the show with skill. John Iacovelli's set is a marvel, an exquisitely detailed living room filled with what seem to be actual antiques, adding enormously to the show.

Hellman's dialogue, characters and plot still can't be beat and are extremely enjoyable, but it's her message about the conscienceless people who were attempting to take control that still resonates today. As Ben says to Regina, "The world's open for people like you and me. There's thousands of us all over the world. We'll own the country some day."

For those who want to see a top-notch production of a genuine classic, The Little Foxes is a must see.

The Little Foxes, through December 10, 2018, plays at the Kiki & David Gindler Performing Arts Center, 110 E. Broadway, Glendale CA. Tickets and information are available at www.Antaeus.org.

Directed by Cameron Watson. Lighting Designer, Jared A. Sayeg; Scenic Designer, John Iacovelli; Sound Designer, Jeff Gardner; Costume Designer, Terri A. Lewis.

Cast:
Regina Hubbard Giddens: Deborah Puette
Birdie Hubbard: Jocelyn Towne
Horace Giddens: John DeMita
William Marshall: Timothy Adam Venable
Benjamin Hubbard: Mike McShane
Leo Hubbard: Calvin Picou
Cal: William L. Warren
Addie: Judy Louise Johnson
Oscar Hubbard: Rob Nagle
Alexandra Giddens: Kristin Couture




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