Review

Love is the answer in 'Talley's Folly'

Oct 15 2012
Christine Dolen | Miami Herald

Palm Beach Dramaworks kicks off its season with Lanford Wilson's Pulitzer winner. ...Palm Beach Dramaworks has built a reputation and an avid, loyal audience (4,300 subscribers and counting) in part for its artistic team's skill at bringing American stage classics to life. Dramaworks' new production of Talley's Folly, now launching the company's second season in its larger yet still intimate home on Clematis Street in West Palm Beach, is a perfect example of what this theater does so well. ... Talley's Folly involves the revelation of secrets and the peeling away of fears. That Matt and Sally, despite their differences, happen to be perfect for each other is arguably a dramatic contrivance on Wilson's part. But the power of this often-contentious love story is as magical as that designer-supplied moonlight. Ron Burns gets the credit for the mood-setting lighting, while sound designer Matt Corey works his own reliable magic. Michael Amico's artfully ramshackle boathouse set becomes a decaying playground for the production's two fine actors. Both deliver energetic, layered performances under the skillful direction of J. Barry Lewis. Wallace finds the funny, driven exterior of a man who has lost everything but isn't about to let his unexpected chance at happiness slip away. Schmidt, though outfitted in a particularly unfortunate print dress by costume designer Brian O'Keefe, makes quicksilver shifts from discomfort to anger to glimmering thoughts of what "yes" might mean. Talley's Folly is, as Matt observes, a kind of theatrical valentine. Thanks to Wallace and Schmidt, director Lewis and the Dramaworks' team, Wilson's beautifully crafted play is an irresistible ode to taking a chance on love.