At the Agassiz Theatre
Anyone who has read any of Henry James' novels or stories knows that his plots can be rather difficult to follow. James' play, "Disengaged," based on his short story "The Solution," suffers from this difficulty.
This is partly redeemed, however, by some of the Idler players whose interpretations of their parts saved the play from being completely flat and complex.
"Disengaged" is a typical Victorian period piece. The main action takes place in a suburban home outside of London. Here a group of scheming characters seek to force a military here, Captain Prime, into marrying Blandina Wigmore, a dull girl who is being pushed forward by her mother. Unfortunately, the captain is much more interested in sensuous Mrs. Jasper, a beautiful young widow.
As the widow, Virginia Carroll did a creative job. Although she got off to a slow start, she warmed up to her role in the later acts and succeeded quite nicely in fulfilling the requirements of a Henry James grand fence. John Mannich was amusing as Captain Prime. His friendly sheepishness and flashes of puzzlement at his plight were fun to watch.
Mary Shiverick and H. Richard Uviller provided the best comedy of the evening. Although they overdid their English accents just a bit, their comical pomposity was splendid in spots. Uviller, particularly, showed real stage presence which must be the result of considerable past acting experience. As the dullard Blandina, Marilyn Weleh was miscast; she was really much too attractive to play a girl nobody was interested in.
It is too bad that the Idlers chose this play. They have some good amateur talent, but "Disengaged" proved a poor vehicle for it.