Review

Performances carry 'Agnes of God'

Feb 27 2008
Hap Erstein | Palm Beach Post

File John Pielmeier's 1982 Broadway hit Agnes of God under theological whodunits, a notably sparse corner of the theatrical shelf. Popular in its time, but largely neglected since then - Palm Beach Dramaworks' stated stock in trade - it is a drama rich in crisp debating points and a trio of showy roles, everything one could ask for except answers to the mysteries it poses. In many ways, Agnes of God is a close relative of Peter Shaffer's Equus, about another chain-smoking shrink who attempts to unlock the secrets of a troubled youth accused of a horrible crime. Pielmeier...knows how to create juicy confrontations and characters worth caring about... Director William Hayes' production is less showy than the original Broadway staging, but he does draw some impressive performances from his cast. Morgan, whose Carbonell Award-winning Martha in Virginia Woolf lingers as a high point in the company's short history, makes Agnes of God about Dr. Livingstone by the sheer force of her simmering bitterness. ... Lowe...manages to persuade us, with her lovely singing voice and the way she re-creates the harrowing nights of conception and birth, recollected under hypnosis. Rounding out the cast is Bradshaw's Sister Miriam, variously wise, tough and comic. Pielmeier manages to inject some humor into the evening, from the speculation about an alternate happy-ending reel to the film Camille to supposition of the brands of cigarettes the saints might have smoked. Pielmeier is a resourceful writer, which comes in handy with Agnes of God...