Theater Review: ACT ONE’s ‘Immigrant Garden’ ‘touching’ and ‘poetic’

June 12, 2017 - accent chair

ACT ONE non-stop a summer deteriorate with “The Immigrant Garden.” In an Apr interview, Executive Director Stephanie Voss Nugent pronounced she wanted for “the impossible” to open a “Festival of Fun” with, an epistolary play focused on gardens, “something melodramatic and classy.”

She achieved her idea by privately bettering a brief novel by Caroline Wood. The outcome is a touching, poetic, melodramatic reading of a association between an comparison English women and an American teen in 1910-11.

Cecily (Catherine Colby), a 17-year-old American writes to an English company, Mrs. Beauchamp’s Mystical Flower and Her Emporium, to acquire seeds for her initial garden. The association no longer exists, though Mrs. Beauchamp (Carol Davenport ) does and responds. She sends a immature lady seeds from her garden, along with a considerate note. 

And so starts a lovely, insinuate attribute between a two, with Mrs. Beauchamp apropos coach in all things garden and life. Cecily, whose mom has passed, talks about boys, gardening and her formidable attribute with her father. Beauchamp shares some of her life’s milestones along with courteous guidance.

The dual forge a true, caring relationship.

Two actresses are seated on stage, a light kept parsimonious around them. The environment is simple; they have stands with scripts before them, and a list with a flower arrangement during their side. It feels, as it is, a achieved reading.

The sell starts light and even, though as it advances so does a story’s depth, and while they sojourn seated there is a clarity of action. For Director Voss Nugent to have staged it any other way, to emanate any nonessential transformation would have taken from a beauty of this production’s language.

Davenport is enchanting as Mrs. Beauchamp. But for intermission, she never leaves a chair nonetheless delivers a full, moving, seemly performance. The Yorkshire accent comes opposite authentic, and a intonations colorful. But positively it is Davenport’s ability to communicate each countenance facially, though it’s also a lift of a hand, shoulder, or enlargement of a chest; each pierce distributed to move a superb nonetheless unobtrusive Beauchamp to life.

Colby’s Cecily is a ideal contrast. She conveys all a energy, of a character’s youthfulness; a passion, confusions, and searching, though also a collateral of her core. Colby’s impression is well-defined, and moves by a operation of emotions effortlessly. Together, she and Davenport make this attribute entirely believable.

Both Tinker Darling as Helen Curtis and Alan Huisman as Mr. Burrows give clever performances as a dual additional characters who seem for small moments, though ones of importance.

Director Voss Nugent has finished a smashing pursuit bettering a novel and bringing it to life on stage.

The production’s lighting, designed by Voss Nugent with a assist of Bretton Reis, is all-important; it sets a mood and it works as a substitute for setting, doing so perfectly.

“Immigrant Garden” had usually a one weekend run this summer, though a accurate prolongation will lapse in a fall. It’s really value imprinting your calendar for a lapse of this touching, well-performed piece.

Go Do

What: ‘The Immigrant Garden,’ constructed by ACT ONE

Where: New Hampshire Theatre Project, West End Studio Theater, 959 Islington St., Portsmouth

When: Next performances will be Friday and Saturday, Sept. 29 and 30, 7:30 p.m.

Tickets: $15; $12 for seniors and students,

More info: Visit or call (603) 300-2986

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