Archikulture Digest

Upton Abbey

Upton Abbey

Created and Directed by David Charles

Annie Russel Theatre

Winter Park, FL</strong>

Maybe Improv Comedy doesn’t need to be funny, but it helps if you can hear it. David Charles certainly knows improv, and the long running “Upton Abbey” offers a certain PBS stuffiness that demands ridicule, but this longish attempt at lampoon fails on the trident of too few laughs, too much furniture movement, and a noodling live sound track that did nothing for the story other than drown out the un-miked actors.

We begin on an elegant stage artfully composed of multiple levels, a few faux art deco curves, and some widows indicating upstairs elegance or down stairs proletariat, depending on their state. We begin by pulling a few random names of characters; these nameplates go on the side of the stage but to what end is unclear. Mr. Charles leads as the stooped butler Percival; he enforces downstairs discipline including church going. The servants debate Irish Catholics not serving in the war. The Irish may be funny, the church may be funny, and war may be funny, but for some reason not all three at the same time.

Upstairs we see the wealthy and morally bankrupt. There’s a romance and an unhappy marriage and some mild alcoholism and some trench warfare heroism but the story is hard to follow. Scenes change but the cast seems to speak in circles, hoping to corner a usable gag. Perhaps the furniture is moved because the gags have rolled under it; or perhaps because the red velvet chairs are funnier than the couch. I kept hoping to hear some of the audience contributed trigger lines from the preshow fishbowl; maybe that would have help move things forward. As it is, the actual PBS “Downton Abbey” offers more humor than this dud.

For more information on the Annie Russell Theatre at Rollins College, please visit http://www.rollins.edu/annierussell/current_season/index.html


Recently on Ink 19...

Henry V

Henry V

Archikulture Digest

Blood, guts, and kicking butt in France — it’s the age-old story of Shakespeare. Carl F. Gauze once again enjoys the salacious violence and complicated plot points of Henry V, in the moody dark of Orlando Shakes.

New Music Now 011: Nora O’Connor

New Music Now 011: Nora O’Connor

Features

On today’s New Music Now, Judy Craddock talks to our musical guest, Nora O’Connor, about her solo album, My Heart, and the captivating new music she’s listening to right now. Tune in for great music, and more ’90s references than you can shake a scrunchie at.

Big Time Gambling Boss

Big Time Gambling Boss

Screen Reviews

Writer Kazuo Kasahara and director Kôsaku Yamashita transcend genre conventions to create the memorable film Big Time Gambling Boss. Phil Bailey reviews.

Frank Bello

Frank Bello

Features

Frank Bello’s new memoir Fathers, Brothers, and Sons: Surviving Anguish, Abandonment, and Anthrax takes us from a New York childhood, to Anthrax stadium tours, to fatherhood with the charming informality of a conversation with an old friend. Then I’m Gone, Bello’s first solo EP, provides accompaniment. Joe Frietze reviews.

%d bloggers like this: