Peace in Our Time
Noel Coward wore many hats: playwright, actor, songwriter, witty man about town. He also was a dedicated patriot who served in the British secret service during World War II. Reminiscent of the 1940s films that pitted French Resistance fighters against the Nazis, this 1947 drama pays tribute to the resilience of the British working class, positing a scenario in which the Germans occupy Britain and people are driven to mobilize to rout the conqueror. The story, rendered by an accomplished ensemble under Casey Stangl's direction, unfolds in a family-owned London pub run by Fred and Nora Shattock (Steve Hofvendahl and Eve Gordon), whose son is presumed dead. Besides other couples who have lost their children, the bar's clientele include journalists, cabaret performers and a supercilious theater critic (Bill Brochtrup) who advocates acquiescing to the regime. Dense with melodrama, especially near its climax, the play grapples with issues of challenging authority that remain timely and important. Barry Creyton's adaptation integrates some of Coward's songs into the script, an unsatisfying device that slows the narrative. Designer Tom Buderwitz's superbly detailed set and Jessica Olson's meticulous costumes complement the performances, nailing with pitch-perfect precision the ambience of the era. (Note: The production is double-cast.) Antaeus Theater at Deaf West Theatre, 5112 Lankershim Blvd., N. Hlywd.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2:30 p.m.; through Dec. 11. (818) 506-1983, antaeus.org, deafwest.org
Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2:30 & 7:30 p.m.; Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2:30 & 7:30 p.m. Starts: Oct. 20. Continues through Dec. 18, 2011
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