Epic opens 2018 with classy Hellman classic
Lillian Hellman’s classic tale of power and greed gets a fresh interpretation at Cranston’s Epic Theatre, as director Kate Lester stages the play in the round (or, to be more specific, in the “U”) seating the actors among the audience.
“The Little Foxes” was recently revived on Broadway with Laura Linney and Cynthia Nixon alternating in the roles of Regina and Birdie. Epic’s cast has Steph Roger playing Regina, the vindictive daughter and sister who grabs for the gold ring at any cost. Stephanie Traversa plays Birdie, the tipsy matriarch who is never taken quite seriously and abused by her overpowering husband.
The family is in need of $75,000 to cut a deal with a northerner that will expand their cotton business and hopefully make them rich. The key to the money lies with Horace (Robert Schmiegel Remigio), Regina’s sickly husband, who has his own ideas of protecting himself from this wicked family.
The two-hour drama moves rapidly, with lots of shouting and a few histrionics from the young cast, but it does keep you involved in the action right up to the dramatic ending.
Hellman uses the cliché, “Don’t count your chickens” quite effectively as the power struggle shifts back and forth and “family” becomes more about the money than about togetherness. It takes a while to figure out who is who in the large extended family, which includes the attempted arranged marriage of first cousins.
Roger and Traversa have immersed themselves well in their characters and carry the play to its bitter end.
“The Little Foxes” is at Epic Theatre, 82 Rolfe St., Cranston, through January 27. For tickets go to www.epictheatre.org.