Cast and Set Score Playhouse Hit
A review of the Hampton Playhouse production of
Hampton Union and Rockingham County Gazette, August 1, 1963, p.2
After the last week's theatrically demanding production of Brendan Behan's, "The Hostage", the company eased off this week with an amusing bit of fluff called "How Far Is The Barn". The Hampton Playhouse thespians do not have to train themselves mentally or emotionally to bring off this thin melodrama that involves a man-hungry movie star stranded in a small town who turns on the sex-appeal for the local yokel.
The sweet young thing is in danger of losing her man to sinful Hollywood but the star's press agent heroically steps into the affair at the critical moment and everyone lives happily ever after. There are many witty lines and funny situations and the audience can enjoy an evening of laughter and amusement with "How Far Is The Barn" -- which is a retitling of Lawrence Riley's Broadway success, "Personal Appearance".
The over-libidoed, throaty movie star is played by Grayson Hall who convincingly adjusts herself to the sexy role and creates an amusing character around which the action pivots. Playing off against her, as her publicity agent, is Dick Kennedy. For an actor of Kennedy's [two unreadable lines here] does not challenge his real ability.
The same is true of Richad Kneeland who portrays the naive country boy that falls for the ministrations of the Hollywood siren and Holly Hill, as the sweet little country girl wronged by the sex-pot. There is not enough depth fo either character to provide a real acting opportunity.
Betty Fromen Bright strikes a spark as Aunt Kate but one of the most outstanding performances comes from young Karen Monko. In the minor role of Gladys, she injects more life and action into the play than the rest of the cast put together. She dominates every scene in which she appears.
Naomi Riseman, Peter Bailey, Fred Hoskins and Barbara Gertz make up the balance of the cast.
Steven Fredrics again scores a hit with his scenic design and execution. Week after week his stage sets have contributed greatly to the success of the production and this week's livingroom scene in a modest Pennsylvania rooming house is bright and alive
"How Far Is The Barn" is well-acted, well-produced and well-directed by Al Christie. It is light and entertaining but the plot is so trite that the audience can anticipate the action before it happens. If the movie's star is working hard to "make" the local yokel, you just know that someone will pop in to break it up before it gets off the ground. Or if the sweet young thing is in danger of losing her man to the siren, you can bet that love will find a way.
You will not leave the theatre emotionally disturbed or hilariously tickled but it is witty, entertaining and has a happy ending.