The device of casting most of the actors in two (or more) roles doesn’t always make it any easier to distinguish between or keep track of the different characters. In other gimmicky instances, May casts one of the peripheral dowagers in the story with an actor in drag (Robert Lee Hindsman), and another in the form of a hand puppet. Likewise, the director’s frenzied pace often does more harm than good in terms of clearly delineating all the various subplots.
In the show’s weird “movement design” — credited to assistant director Ashley Anderson and choreographer Anicka Austin, if presumably conceived by Hamill — members of the ensemble occasionally serve as glorified stagehands, rearranging the furniture in midscene or even midsentence, lifting Elinor or Marianne from one spot and repositioning them in another, or forming a line behind them and shadowing them around the stage. In one bit, they resort to exaggerated silent-movie pantomime.
Hamill’s fast and loose take on Austen might seem an ideal match for, say, Dad’s Garage, which has a long and proven experience handling such manic material. Somehow, the show doesn’t make quite the same sense as a proper fit for May and Synchronicity — and its newly heightened sensibility rarely feels genuinely spontaneous so much as decidedly forced.
“Sense and Sensibility”
Through Oct. 15. 8 p.m. Wednesdays-Saturdays; 5 p.m. Sundays; 8 p.m. Monday (Oct. 2 only). $23-$41 (Wednesday and Monday shows are pay-what-you-can). Synchronicity Theatre, 1545 Peachtree St. NE (in the Peachtree Pointe complex), Atlanta. 404-484-8636, www.synchrotheatre.com.
Bottom line: A curio.
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