IT’S A DOG’S LIFE
EdgemarCenterfor the Arts has emerged with another hit after the astonishingly long tenure of ‘HobokentoHollywood’, a sure candidate for all the awards at the upcoming Ovation Awards later on this year.
This time we have ‘Sylvia’ in which a stray dog, Sylvia (in the guise of Tanna Frederick) who takes over the affections (and disaffections) of an unsuspecting couple. The husband, Greg (Stephen Howard) becomes completely taken over by the machinations of Sylvia to the consternation of the wife, Kate (Cathy Arden) who has no use whatsoever for the canine as she sees how Sylvia has completely taken over the attention of Greg.
We see, in human terms, what goes on in a dog’s mind as he sees himself in a situation such as this and how he is able to react to the forces which surround him, both in his best interests (Greg) and the opposite (Kate).
As the plot unfolds, there are very humorous asides as the interplay between Sylvia and the couple is manifested and also some very touching and heartwarming scenes as Cathy struggles to cope with the situation at hand and Greg attempts to deal with both sides of the equation as it confronts him.
Tanna Frederick gives a very spirited performance as the dog, Sylvia, even though there might be a few who would utter the phrase “Book her on a 502” a time honored term to denote a bit of overacting, as she goes about physically putting herself in a dog’s skin.
Cathy Arden as the wife does a masterful job in her somewhat thankless role playing the basically ignored wife. Stephen Howard couldn’t be more right as the husband bowing to the dog’s demands as he reacts to his wife’s displeasure with the goings on. Tom Ayres is also on hand, as the friend of Greg, who presents his own homespun philosophy to Greg as to how to handle the situation.
The ending of the show is bittersweet as the couple details the denouement of the affair to the audience and there didn’t appear to this reviewer to be many dry eyes on hearing how everything worked out at the end.
This is a lot of incisiveness and insight in this play by A.R. Gurney. Tanna Frederick has enough name recognition to put the production over the top and it looks like the Edgemar is in for another sizable run. Early performances had the proceeds going to the animal rescue charity New Leash On Life, a very apropos cause indeed.
The show was produced by Alexandra Guarnieri and directed by Gary Imhoff.
Thursdays through Saturday at 7:30 and Sundays at 5. Show closes July 10.
EdgemarCenterfor the Arts. 2437 Main St,Santa Monica. 310.392.7327.