I haven’t had this much fun in the theatre in a long time, so kudos to the cast and Director Christopher Goodrich for their very funny and poignant production of Candy and Dorothy, now playing in the intimate 150-seat VisArts in Rockville Town Center, a short walk from the Rockville Metro Station (on the Red Line). Being a Rockville/North Bethesda resident – I am so excited that this wonderful theatre company has taken up residence in my hometown.
If you can imagine Neil Simon’s Oscar and Felix trying to keep a civil friendship in the after-life, then you will enjoy watching Candy Darling – the glamorous Andy Warhol transexual superstar and Dorothy Day – the ultra-religious pacifist/social worker and co-founder of the Catholic Worker movement – taking jabs at each other in David Johnson’s critically acclaimed 2006 Off-Broadway comedy/fantasy. And if you are a Frank Capra fan, the story will ‘ring a bell’ and you’ll love it!
The play puts Candy and Dorothy together when they die. After they are interviewed, and in a twist-of-fate, Candy becomes Dorothy Day’s caseworker. And then they both take an interest in ‘saving’ a drug-ingesting/selling librarian named Tamara, played with much energy and conviction by the spunky Dawn Thomas. You can only imagine the craziness that happens.
As you can imagine – you need two outstanding actors to play Candy and Dorothy and Director Goodrich has struck gold with Jean Hudson Miller as Dorothy and Robert Sheire as Candy. These roles subject these actors to a roller-coaster of emotions and they both shine! Both have impeccable comic timing, and at the same time, they tug at your heartstrings. They both give heart-warming, powerful, funny, and very human performances. You may not admire them at first, but as the play moves along – you’ll want to wrap your arms around them.
Eric Humphries plays Tamara’s off-and-on-again fling/lover Sid with much enthusiasm, and Jennifer A. Knight is silly as the psychiatrist Tamara visits to try to exorcise Candy and Dorothy from her mind and life.
Congrats to Sound Designer John Vengrouskie for his crystal-clear work, to Lighting Designer Peter Dowty for his simple yet illuminating work, and to Propmaster John Barbee for keeping it simple, but very effective. I couldn’t stop looking at the hanging clocks above the performing space. Take a look at the back of these hanging clocks. It’s a grave situation.
Run and see Candy and Dorothy before it closes on Sunday July 31st. Candy and Dorothy plays thorugh this Sunday, July 31st at Unexpected Stage Company at VisArts, 155 Gibbs Street, in Rockville, MD. Check the performances times and purchase your tickets here online.
Playwright David Johnston will be attending the Saturday, July 30th 7:30 PM performance and will lead a talkback after the show.
Running time is 90 minutes without an intermission.