Sin to Mentality

Margaret Tyzack and Greg Hicks in The Family Reunion: back to the drawing room
Margaret Tyzack and Greg Hicks in The Family Reunion: back to the drawing room

Regrettably, he played up his ponderous side, leaving Harry, his tragic hero, with the unenviable job of embodying Orestes with only a bare hint of Orestes's motive, and none of Orestes's context in which to fulfill it. This isn't fun, and one could feel only pity for Greg Hicks, who struggled mightily to animate the role, with no language, no direction, and, apparently, no inner resources to help him out. In desperation, he kept facing front, pointing his chin at the balcony, and shouting his lines out like a train announcer. BAM's smaller theater—which used to be majestic, but is now merely harvey—doesn't really have a balcony, but then, this Harry was a lord with no country house, so a little desperation was justified. Not as much, however, as Zoe Waites insisted on displaying in the role of Mary, the poor relation who loves Harry and helps him find himself. Where Hicks at least struggled to invent his role, Waites galumphed through hers with patent inadequacy in every department, starting with a coarse London accent (Mary is supposed to have lived in the house for seven years) that put her only a few streets away from Yard Gal. No wonder Hicks's hands, in their scenes together, kept straying up towards her neck. Or perhaps he too recognized that Eliot's source was not Christi Redemptoris, but that other Christie, the beloved Agatha—first cause of this mysterious affair of muddled style.

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