Theatre Review: “The Busy World is Hushed”
“She’s a salesman who’s her own best customer.”
Keith Bunin’s “The Busy World is Hushed” directed by Dexter M. Ramey for Richmond Triangle Players, continues this year’s Acts of Faith Festival. With a cast of only three, “Hushed” is thought provoking, touching, and often quite funny. Brandt, played by Chris O’Neill, finds himself hired by Hannah, a minister and scholar played by Linda Beringer, to assist her in penning her newest publication. Hannah’s son Thomas, played by Chris Hester, lives a bit of a transient lifestyle and has returned home for the time being, just in time to meet his mother’s trusting and handsome new employee.
As Brandt and Hannah continue their work, Brandt begins to catch Thomas’s eye and soon Thomas and Brandt develop a romantic relationship that is quickly struck down by Brandt for fear that Hannah will not approve. However we find that Hannah instead feels quite the opposite about Brandt and Thomas’s affair and actually encourages it, presumably because she feels Brandt will ground her wayward son. Brandt’s father is terminally ill and his burgeoning relationship with Thomas helps to provide Brandt with a temporary escape from his increasing feelings of mortality.
Hester gives an impressive performance as the unfocused Thomas, speaking in a slow drawl and moving lackadaisically around the stage almost as if he doesn’t have a care in the world. O’Neill’s performance of Brandt is endearing as he tries to navigate being caught in between mother and son. I found all of O’Neill’s reactions to be very genuine, never appearing to be overacting and allowing himself to fully commit to his character. Beringer’s performance in the first act did feel a bit forced initially but she becomes more comfortable in her role into the second act and delivers some of the most powerful lines in the play with natural grace.
The set designed by David Allan Ballas is gorgeous, especially the stain glass windows that are complimented well by K. Jenna Ferree’s lighting. There were no major technical issues in the performance I attended on Saturday, but the music between scene changes does cut out abruptly and would have been better if it slowly faded out prior to the start of the scene.
“The Busy World is Hushed” is playing at Richmond Triangle Players through March 23rd.
www.rtriangle.org for information
Jen Maciulewicz is theatre critic for GAYRVA.com and is a Richmond local. Jen attended VCU and holds a B.S. in Anthropology. She has starred as Reno Sweeney in Cole Porter’s “Anything Goes" and attended VCU’s School of Music. Follow Jen on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jenlaumac.
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