“just plain delicious fun … An Austen experience like no other.” – Ann Marie Cusella, Buffalo Vibe

By Ann Marie Cusella, buffalovibe.com, posted January 27, 2019

Sense & Sensibility at Irish Classical Theatre is still very much a Jane Austen experience, but it seems as though that lady might have ingested a steroid with her tea, or perhaps even a psychedelic or two. Playright Kate Hamill has blown it up into a mélange of stylized dialogue, extravagant gestures and accents, creative stagecraft, and just plain delicious fun. Add a stellar cast and fine direction by Chris Kelly, and you have an Austen experience like no other.

Sense & Sensibility maintains the mores of the landed gentry of Regency England regarding the roles of ladies and gentlemen and Austen’s, well, sensibility, in the story of the Dashwood sisters, while pumping up the energy level to high octane. The gossips are gossipier, even gossiping to the audience; the penurious Fanny and John are even more penurious; the obnoxious Robert Ferrars is even more obnoxious. The ten actors fly around the stage on chairs and tables with castors, wheeling from one scene to the next. They become animals and carriages and forests and…and… For instance, one scene includes three hilarious hounds.

In the center of all of this commotion are Elinor and Marianne Dashwood, beautifully played by Kristin Tripp Kelley and Renee Landrigan, each embodying the characters of their roles–Ms. Tripp Kelley the reserved, rational Elinor, and Ms. Landrigan the passionate, free-speaking Marianne.

The two sisters are of marrying age and, with their mother and younger sister, are forced to leave their home after their father’s death due to the law that does not allow women to inherit. Instead, the estate goes to their half brother, John and his wife, Fanny. Before they leave, Elinor meets the modest and bashful Edward, brother to Fanny. They connect, but there are complications. After the family moves to Devonshire, Marianne falls instantly for the dashing John Willoughby. They connect, but there are complications. And an older friend of their distant relation, Colonel Brandon, falls instantly for Marianne, but she has eyes only for Willoughby. The second act resolves all complications, of course, and everyone goes away happy, including the audience after shedding a tear or two in addition to enjoying a great deal of laughter.

Kate LoConti Alcocer is a hoot as the parsimonious Fanny and the ridiculous young woman Lucy Steele. Jenn Stafford is just as ridiculous as Lucy’s sister Anne. As Mrs. Dashwood, Ms. Stafford expresses the warmth and reserve one would imagine in a woman of her time. Ben Michael Moran is excellent as both Ferrars brothers, the humble and diffident Edward and the foppish lout Robert. He is very funny as Robert, whirling himself around the stage on a bench, expounding on the virtues of “a cottage.” Anthony Alcocer is suitably inhibited and aloof as Colonel Brandon, expressing his longing for Marianne in his eyes and in small gestures. Brittany Bassett is charming as the inquisitive young sister Margaret. Brendan Didio’s chin thrust as John Dashwood is quite entertaining, and as Willoughby, he clearly expresses that character’s charm, selfishness and self-pity. Josephine Hogan looks like she is having great fun as the main gossip and storyteller, Mrs. Jennings, as does David Lundy as Sir John Middleton and his mother.

Set Designer Dyan Burlingame set several crystal chandeliers above the stage to denote the wealth of the gentry, with the wooden chairs and tables on castors acting as the set for all the scenes. Brian Cavanagh designed the lights. Tom Makar designed the sound, which includes the music Marianne plays on an imaginary pianoforte. A. Lise Harty designed the Regency costumes.

Sense & Sensibility is a very clever, creative and modern take on the Austen oeuvre. It feels fresh and traditional at the same time and is entertaining as hell. Oops, Ms. Austen would never allow such a word to appear in her writing, nor I believe, do lovers ever kiss in an Austen novel. But this is the 21st century. And ICTC’s production of Sense & Sensibility is, after all, for 21st century audiences.

You can see it at the Andrews Theatre through February 10th.


“do see this inventive romp … and with haste.” – Cherie Messore, Buffalo Theatre Guide

By Cherie Messore, buffalotheatreguide.com on January 21, 2019

Gossipy, back-biting, smugly superior…yup, sounds like life in the British countryside, late 18th century style. This was the proverbial fodder for Jane Austen’s mill.  Kind hearted sisters stripped of their place in society, weak-willed men who don’t deserve them, and lots of smart, witty repartee make Austen’s novels a divine read and a delight on screen. Playwright Kate Hamill took the best of what we love about Austen’s “Sense and Sensibility” and Irish Classical Theatre Company put it on stage in its WNY premiere.

Not a Jane-ite you say, gentle reader?  Pray, do see this inventive, feisty, fun romp of a novel-on-stage anyway, and with haste. Director Chris Kelly and this rambunctious ensemble create stage magic with elegantly simple set pieces, handmade sound effects, and deliciously delivered dialogue.

The opening scene is reminiscent of the ‘Tower of Babel’ opening of “Godspell” and ‘The Telephone Hour’ from “Bye Bye Birdie,” but instead of dishing about Hugo and Kim, we’re introduced to the Dashwood sisters and the fate they’ll suffer because of their father’s death and their half-sister-in-law’s machinations. Hang on to your reticule, things are about to start spinning. Literally. The white-painted set pieces are on wheels and besides delivering Miss Austen’s good words, the actors are constantly moving, circling, scooting about on either tables, chairs, benches or mobilizing them. Then there are gilt frames that magically appear at propitious times, sometimes as cottage windows or carriage windows or other portals of adventure. And don’t be confused when actors flip into multiple roles which include prancing horses and rambunctious dogs. Anthony Alcocer’s one sleeve on/one sleeve off over the shoulder dual role is particularly charming.

The cast is clearly enjoying this romp and roll, too. Kristen Tripp Kelly and Renee Landrigan embrace their roles as Elinor and Marianne Dashwood, the sense and sensibility of the title respectively.  They are everything a Dashwood daughter should be: Elinor is the pragmatic one who delivers the best Jane line of the novel: “I am calm. I am my own mistress.” Landrigan is the perfect Marianne, collapsing for wont of honor and true love in one scene, and playing a mean air pianoforte in several other scenes. Listen to the music and watch her fingers: she’s really playing along with the music. Impressive.

While the rest of the cast don multiple roles, they are the constants. At time their mom is Jennifer Stafford and younger sister Margaret is winsomely played by Brittany Bassett in her ICTC debut. Kate LoConti Alcocer is despicable as Fanny Ferrars Dashwood. Josephine Hogan embraces her role as the supportive Mrs. Jennings. The menfolk of the ensemble have some of the best moments. David Lundy’s main role is John Middleton, and yes, that’s him again donning a lace shawl in other moments. Ben Michael Moran plays it all from Edward Ferrars to one proud stallion and frisky pup. Brendan Didio is John Willoughby, another ICTC debut.

When they aren’t rolling chairs and tables across stage, the troupe is the soundtrack, too. From perfectly choreographed finger snaps, thigh slaps, and palm rubbing form thunderstorms. A burst of pop tune sets a new scene, repetitive words – like chants – create the metaphoric inner turmoil. Director Kelly wrung every bit of energy from this cast for sure.

The pace on stage was constant motion, fresh and bright. If the first act dragged a bit, blame dear Miss Austen’s original script for wanting to pack in every detail where a modern author would have settled for more nuance.

“Sense and Sensibility” takes the chill off a nasty winter night. Classic literature, dynamic cast, terrific staging, perfect costumes make this show shine.


4 Stars (out of 4) – Anthony Chase, The Buffalo News – “Jane Austen through a kaleidoscope”

By Anthony Chase, Published January 19, 2019, Updated January 19, 2019

Jane Austen’s 1811 novel, “Sense and Sensibility,” spins across the stage with playful effervescence in Kate Hamill’s adaptation, now being performed at the Irish Classical Theatre Company … a whirlwind of contemporary theatricality … this may be Jane Austen, but you are free to laugh with hearty abandon.

“Sense and Sensibility” is the sprawling story of sensible Elinor and sensitive Marianne Dashwood … their father unexpectedly dies, leaving the family with precarious finances …

In typical Jane Austen fashion, the prosperity of these charming young women is now dependent upon making advantageous marriages … the hallmark of Jane Austen.  We are treated to Jane Austen as seen through a kaleidoscope of twirling images …

The production creates the illusion that everything we see is being invented spontaneously. Rainy weather is created with snapping fingers and patting of the actors’ hands against their bodies. Actors become dogs and horses; gardens and forests. … This lightness of tone permeates the production …

Kristen Tripp Kelley and Renee Landrigan are exquisite (as Elinor and Marianne Dashwood) … the central love story is really between these two sisters. The Misses Kelley and Landrigan are palpably charismatic …

Typically a leading lady, here Kate LoConti Alcocer sheds her accustomed glamor, dignity, and smoldering sexuality to play detestable Fanny Ferrars Dashwood and fortune-hunting Lucy Steele. These cartoon creations are delightful fun.

The suitors … are marvelous. … Each suffers beautifully for love … (Ben Michael) Moran, Anthony Alcocer and Brendan Didio are perfection …

Completing the ensemble of 10 are two of Buffalo’s most skillful character actors, Josephine Hogan and David Lundy … adding marvelous humor and affection to this very lovable show.

Fast-paced and irresistibly appealing, “Sense and Sensibility” provides a luxurious evening of humor and romance.


Jane Austen’s “Sense and Sensibility” by Irish Classical Theatre

4 stars (out of four)

Read full review @ https://buffalonews.com/2019/01/19/anthony-chase-irish-classicals-sense-sensibility-is-jane-austen-through-a-kaleidoscope/




Powerful … A strong production of one of Ireland’s most popular plays

3-1/2 Stars (out of 4)

by Melinda Miller, The Buffalo News

There is nothing epic about “Sive,” John B. Keane’s tragic family drama set in a small, rude farmhouse. This is a story of gritty survival, where poverty pushes people to make desperate choices with unconscionable results …

… there also are frequent moments of dark humor, the kind that is particularly Irish and especially enjoyable. And the excellent cast in Irish Classical Theatre Company’s production of the show relishes those moments, savoring Keane’s detail-rich language as they spit it across the stage at one another …

It is the story of an illegitimate orphan named Sive (Amherst High senior Kiana Duggan-Haas), who is raised by her uncle, Mike Glavin, and his wife, Mena, in the house they share with her grandmother. It is not a comfortable existence – their water comes out of a bucket, and the only warmth in the house, physical or emotional, comes from a peat-fueled fire.

… Mena (is) a desperately unhappy woman who is determined to blame others for her rough lot in life. Played with ferocious bite by Aleks Malejs, Mena barks and snaps at her mother-in-law, Nanna (played by Josephine Hogan at her crone-like best), over her affection for smoking and for Sive …

… the matchmaker Thomasheen (Ray Boucher) arrives to propose a deal: He will give the family 200 pounds in exchange for handing Sive over to marry an elderly but rich local farmer – a man old enough to be Sive’s granddad … in the rough landscape of rural Ireland, it smacks of human trafficking.

Boucher is fearless as the greedy advocate for the match, eloquently pointing out the advantages of the “arrangement,” even for Sive, who would be lady of a house … “She’ll live like a queen,” he proclaims.

But Sive loves a local boy, Liam Scuab (earnestly portrayed by Niagara U grad Peter S. Raymond), and they hope to someday marry. Their cause gets unexpected support from a pair of traveling tinkers …

(Gerry) Maher, a Buffalo stage veteran, and (Johnny) Barden, in his first professional show, play delightfully well together. While the elder tinker prophesizes of the dark fates awaiting those who would sell a child, the younger thumps on a bodhran …

David Lundy, fresh from appearing as the trainer in Irish Classical’s “Golden Boy,” is back as Sean Dota, the lecherous farmer who has his eye on Sive. Doddering and eager, this Dota is seemingly unaware that the object of his lust would have any feelings herself about the transaction.

Caught in the middle is Mike Glavin (Patrick Moltane), who laments on how impossible it is to be a good son and good husband in the same house, not to mention trying to do the right thing for his niece. Tragically, despite his moral struggles, he can’t escape the idea that “Money is the best friend a man ever had,” and the die is cast.

The action all takes place in the kitchen of the Glavin home, on an intricate set designed for full freedom of action by Brian Cavanagh. Wardrobe mistress Vivian del Bello and costume designer Bethany Kasperek get credit for the cast’s well-worn and neatly patched outfits, which added to the authenticity that director Vincent O’Neill drew out of his performers.

Click here for full review.


Theater review


3.5 stars

Strong production of one of Ireland’s most popular plays, a rural tragedy by John B. Keane powered by inescapable poverty, lust and class suffering. Presented by Irish Classical Theare Company in the Andrews Theatre, 625 Main St., through Nov. 25. For tickets, go to irishclassical.com. There are post-show talk-backs with the cast on Thursdays and free Guinness for ticket-holders in the lounge after Friday shows.


“splendid … a gripping evening of theatre” – buffalovibe.com

By: Ann Marie Cusella, buffalovibe.com | Posted September 15th, 2018

“For what shall it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world yet suffer the loss of his soul?” These biblical words from Mark 8:36, while not spoken in the play, are at the heart of Clifford Odets’ 1937 classic, Golden Boy, a tragic treatise on the moral dilemma between the overweening desire for fortune versus following one’s heart and true nature. Such is the quandary faced by Joe Bonaparte, a struggling, talented young violinist who longs to be rich, to experience more of life, and “be somebody.” He is torn between the money and glamour of being a fighter and continuing his pursuit of the music that he loves.

Set in the world of depression-era boxing, Golden Boy is given a splendid treatment by Director Fortunato Pezzimenti at Irish Classical Theatre Company. This three-act play is riveting from start to finish. Every element of the production contributes to a seamless and gripping evening of theater. Scenes change in dim blue lighting (designed by Brian Cavanaugh) while cast members take their places and quietly begin the next scene, creating a feeling of continuity as one scene flows into the next, while mood music (designed by Tom Makar) sets the tone. Nothing detracts or distracts from the main event, the struggles of Joe, Lorna and Tom, as they strive to claim their places in an unforgiving world.

The callous, lowbrow sphere of 1930s boxing is as much a character in the play as are the people who inhabit it. Boxing is a blood sport, where “pieces” of fighters are up for sale, greed is the order of the day, and the men in the ring take incredible punishment to line the pockets of promotors and maybe, maybe find glory. Odets’ hard-nosed lyrical language provides a window into this tough society, as his characters confront and parry with each other in pursuit of their dreams.

Anthony Alcocer is Joe, the brash young man who fights himself more vigorously than he fights his opponents. Mr. Alcocer gives a layered performance, transforming from youthful charm and the innocent arrogance of the untested and untried into a very angry, egotistical man, full of loathing for himself and his sport. His trainer tells him, “Your heart ain’t in fighting. Your hate is…find something to love.” When faced with the reality of what he has done to himself, his misery and naïve belief that he can somehow fix it all is heartbreaking to watch.

Cassie Cameron is a wonder as Lorna Moon, the mistress of fight promotor Tom Moody. Ms. Cameron exudes the tough-broad image—hard-boiled, seen-it-all—who is willing to settle for being wanted by the mediocre promotor because that’s the best a girl like her can hope for. She is totally believable with her Jersey accent and sharp tongue, the wise-cracking blonde who knows what’s what. When that façade cracks, Ms. Cameron exposes the vulnerability beneath. She is superb.

Christian Brandjes is Tom Moody. He plays this part very well, the sort of likeable-at-first, greedy little man in over his head, desperate to believe in his own goodness while he sells what little honor he still possesses to the thug, Fuseli.

Eric Rawski plays Fuseli with a quiet menace that he backs up with violence when thwarted. Also, in the supporting cast, David Lundy is the kind trainer, Tokio. Adam Yellen is an amusing diversion as Joe’s twitchy brother-in-law Siggie, who has some very funny go-rounds with his wife, Anna (Arin Lee Dandes), who effortlessly keeps up with him in their sparring. Rolando Martin Gomez is Joe’s father, and does not seem to really inhabit the role, at times not quite reaching the depth of feeling required. Jeffrey Coyle overplays a bit as Roxy, one of the sleazy partner’s in the Bonaparte syndicate. Steve Jakiel, Gabriel Robere, David C. Mitchell, and Gerry Maher round out this fine cast.

I saw this three-hour, three-act play on the night of Curtain Up!. The sold-out audience was glued to their seats throughout, the party outside notwithstanding. No one left Golden Boy, a testament to the brilliance and timelessness of the script and the high quality of the production. Kudos to all!

“The Three Musketeers” comes to Shea’s 710 Theatre Nov. 1-18!

Strength.  Unity.  Courage.

Through these tenets, one can always defend his beliefs.  Set in 1625, this classic tale of swashbuckling adventure explores the themes of heroism, secrets and the greatest of all – love.  Come on an epic journey with our Musketeers in this collaborative production by five local theatres – giving new meaning to “all for one and one for all.”

Presented by All For One Theatre Productions:  Irish Classical Theatre, MusicalFare Theatre, Road Less Traveled Productions, Shea’s 710 Theatre and Theatre of Youth.

This production is being performed at Shea’s 710 Theatre and is not part of ICTC’s Subscription Season.  Tickets may be purchased through Shea’s Box Office/Ticketmaster.

Ticket prices vary.  Click here for tickets.

4 Stars (out of 4) – “A golden start” to ICTC’s 18-19 season – Anthony Chase, Buffalo News

There is a golden girl at the heart of the Irish Classical Theatre production of Clifford Odets 1937 classic, “Golden Boy,” and her name is Cassie Cameron.  Cameron gives a five-star performance in this four-star production.

It was inevitable that Irish Classical Theatre eventually arrive at the work of Odets.  The playwright modeled his plays on the work of Sean O’Casey, and is seminal in the development of a style of realistic American acting, which is also a hallmark of the Irish Classical Theatre.  The play is a perfect choice to open its 2018-2019 season.

This production is a seamless melding of Odets’ remarkable script with a cast that … inhabits the play’s large array of characters with sincerity, believability, and passion.

Christian Brandjes is focused and convincing … Rolando Martin Gomez gives a performance aching in its sincerity and authenticity …

… as golden boy Joe Bonaparte, Anthony Alcocer … here gives a career making turn.  He endows the fatally conflicted character with palpable humanity and complexity, in a performance that is grounded and contained … He is marvelous.

Read Anthony Chase’s full 4-Star review.in The Buffalo News.


“One of ICTC’s very best,” 3-1/2 Stars for “Lady Windermere’s Fan” – The Buffalo News

Wit wins out in ICTC’s “Lady Windermere’s Fan” – Review by Colin Dabkowski, Published 7:00 a.m. June 6, 2018

The Irish Classical Theatre Company has a knack for choosing summertime comedies with just the right amount of froth.

Its latest, whipped up like some perfect theatrical cappuccino by director Josephine Hogan and her talented cast, is Oscar Wilde’s “Lady Windemere’s Fan.” It hits just the right Wildean balance between cutting snark and probing insight into human fear and frailty …

As plots go, this one makes itself compelling by being patently unbelievable.

It involves the attempted return to London society of a mysterious woman with a reputation for bad behavior, played with extra relish on the side by Kate LoConti … Mrs. Erlynne (is) … the subject of everyone’s fascination … Her most ardent suitor Lord Augustus (Christian Brandjes, in fine comic form) (who) follows her around like a puppy …

LoConti, as expected, is marvelous in the role. She fully owns her character’s sense of entitlement …  LoConti’s scenes with the equally gifted (Arianne) Davidow (as Lady Windermere) serve as the genuine emotional ground from which all the play’s snarky comments and sendups grow.

… no one in the cast is better at delivering comic takedowns than Chris Kelley’s Cecil Graham … Kelley plays him with savage delight, a self-satisfied manner and an extraordinary accent that has probably never existed in the wild.

Not far behind him in the snark department is Colleen Gaughan as the Duchess of Berwick, into which Wilde has packed his worst opinions about the hypocritical London aristocracy.

Even the butler (David Lundy) gets in on it, treating certain guests with a raised eyebrow and withering disdain …

All of this unfolds … on Paul Bostaph’s marvelous set … Brian Cavanagh’s finely tuned lighting adds a glimmering sheen to the whole affair … Lise Harty’s costumes, from elegant ball gowns to stuffy tuxedos, assist in the suspension of our disbelief.

… the production is one of the Irish Classical’s very best.

Read full review @ http://buffalonews.com/2018/06/06/wit-wins-out-in-ictcs-lady-windemeres-fan/

Theater Review

3.5 stars (out of four)

“Lady Windemere’s Fan” runs through June 24 in the Andrews Theatre, 625 Main St. Tickets are $20 to $45. Call 853-4282 or visit irishclassical.com.






“dream team cast” in “Lady Windermere’s Fan,” Cherie Messore, buffalotheatreguide.com

Posted June 4, 2018

Ah, the things we do for love. We keep secrets. Maybe tell a fib or two. And perhaps we try to protect the object of our affection from hurting over something that can’t be undone.

Love, honor, and the subtleties of deception combine to form the delectable story of Oscar Wilde’s “Lady Windermere’s Fan,” sumptuously staged by the Irish Classical Theatre Company.

Director Josephine Hogan had the dream team cast for this one.

The story begins as we meet Lady Windermere, elegantly played by Arianne Davidow. . She has two visitors in the afternoon of her “coming of age” birthday. First is Lord Darlington who Lady Windermere playfully chides for lavishing too much attention on her. “Compliments,” sighs Lord Darlington, “is the only thing we can pay,” he laments.  Still he admires so much about her, she is a good woman, in a world where there are so many bad ones. Lady Windermere, true to her Puritan values, wants nothing to do with such talk, or his veiled attempts at seduction. “I will have no one in my house about whom there is any scandal,” she declares. So when her next guest arrives – The Duchess of Berwick with her daughter Lady Agatha – Lady W can barely tolerate the thought that her dear husband is involved with a woman with a questionable past. And he’s giving her money! Whatever for?

She confronts her husband, who implores her to invite the mysterious Mrs. Erlynne to the evening’s birthday party. Lady W. will have none of it, so Lord W. invites this wayward guest himself. There’s a gasp when Mrs. Erlynne sweeps into the room, all clad in the brightest of red gowns, with the tallest hair ornament of them all, against a sea of more modestly-hued frocks.  She beguiles the men. And shocks the women.

What unfolds is the classic parlor comedy with a morality theme, sparked by plenty of discussion about right and wrong, marriage and human nature, good and bad. If you’re not charming, you’re tedious, and if you’re too good, you’re taken too seriously. The witty banter, the raised eyebrows, the shocking revelations are Wilde at his finest. So is the fluttering of Lady Windermere’s fan, with its pure white feathers, sparkling jewels, inscription just for the Lady. The fan – a gift, a metaphor, a symbol – has the most provocative silent role of all.

Director Josephine Hogan had the dream team cast for this one. Davidow, in demure pink and white with flowers in her hair, is the perfect young bride to Matt Witten’s stalwart but loving Lord Windermere. Ben Michael Moran is a charmer as the smitten Lord Darlington, and delivers the classic line – “We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars” with a sweet longing for the love he can’t share with Lady W. Kate LoConti is outstanding as the mysterious Mrs. Erlynne. She’s brazen, confident, and determined…and sentimental, caring, and devoted to what’s acceptable to the high-brow British uppercrust. LoConti’s expressions, her gestures, are slight, and convey every emotion and meaning. David Lundy is a trip as Parker the butler.  His entr’acte stage-lights-at-half ballet sequence is Artie-worthy. Christian Brandjes as the bumbling Lord Augustus Lorton and Chris Kelly as the sardonic Cecil Graham are great foils. Jon May’s Mr. Dumby delivers the prophetic punch at the party with “In this world there are only two tragedies. One is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it.” Wilde’s wisest words.

Running Time: 2 Hours, with a 10-minute intermission.



“‘Lady Windermere’s Fan’ … delicious … excellent cast” – Ann Marie Cusella, buffalovibe.com

June 2, 2018

If you are in the market for a delightful evening of Wildean wit and wisdom, you will do no better than seeing Irish Classical Theatre Company’s current production of Oscar Wilde’s Lady Windermere’s Fan. This subversive drawing room comedy, first performed in 1892, is timeless in its skewering of rigid moral codes and adherence to uncompromising societal rules that demand conformity, with banishment and ruin as punishment for those who dare to defy them. Irish Classical Theatre Company is always in top form in its productions of Wilde plays, and this one is no exception.

The young, innocent, beautiful Lady Windermere (Arianne Davidow) has received a fan for her birthday from her older husband (Matt Witten), who unfortunately refers to her as “child” several times. She lives by a very strict moral code, declaring herself unforgiving of human frailty, i.e., affairs outside of marriage. Nonetheless, she is pursued by the dashing Lord Darlington (Ben Michael Moran), who cannot help but love her, as rich idle young men have earnestly proclaimed throughout the ages. She is told by the Duchess of Berwick (Colleen Gaughan) that Lord Windermere has been seen many times in the company of an unknown-to-society woman, Mrs. Erlynne (Kate LoConti), and scandal must ensue unless Lady W. spirits Lord W. away for a time. Thus begins the dark night of the soul for the lovely Lady W. and an opportunity for Mr. Wilde to regale us with his seditious wit.

Kate LoConti steals the show as Mrs. Erlynne, although she is given a run for her money in smaller roles by Christian Brandjes as the dim-witted Lord Augustus Lorton with jowls that speak for themselves, and Chris Kelly as the mischievous Mr. Cecil Graham, who delivers some of Mr. Wilde’s juicier lines with a farcical, public school boy persona. Then there’s the dancing David Lundy as the butler, Parker, and Colleen Gaughan as the gossipy, witless Duchess of Berwick…

But, back to Ms. LoConti. Her line delivery is impeccable, and her emotions are palpable, yet understated, as she feels an unexpected deep love and must adjust her plans. She carries herself with grace throughout, and is stunning in her entrance, flaunting Victorian norms in a sparkling red dress that is just this side of being too revealing as she flirts her way around the room, mocking society while at the same time seducing almost every man present. Beautiful!

Ms. Davidow and Mr. Witten do well in their roles as the humorless couple. He is harried and worried throughout, running around trying to put out fires. She is so rigid and inflexible she is almost unappealing, belying her lovely demeanor, seeming like she might shatter into pieces at any moment, and then becoming more three-dimensional as her world changes.

The excellent cast is rounded out by Jon May, Emily Collins, Jaimee Harmon, Marilyn Mendelson, and Jamie O’Neill.

Directed by Josephine Hogan, at just under two hours, the production is lively without feeling rushed, and very well cast. She uses the theater in the round expertly, moving her actors around organically, rather than in a stilted someone-must-be-facing-the-audience-on-that-side mode, which happens all too often in lesser hands. The beautiful Victorian costumes are by Lise Harty, Set Design by Paul Bostaph, Lighting by Brian Cavanagh, Sound by Tom Makar, Hair and Make-up by Susan Drozd. All are experts, and their work here a fine example of their many talents.

The themes of rigid definitions of good and bad and polite society’s demands that all conform to its rules leave a sour taste, as the only way for the Windermeres to survive as a couple is to keep their secrets hidden, not just from society, but also from each other. Lady Windermere’s Fan has an underlying seriousness, but do not let that keep you from enjoying every delicious minute of it.