Gangsters bring comedy in ‘A Visit From Scarface’

A screenplay, a writer, an actress, and some dapper gangsters cause quite a ruckus in ‘A Visit From Scarface’ at the Greenville Little Theater. Ben Hecht (Evan Harris) is working on a screenplay and feels his biggest problem is a line that he can’t seem to fit into the script. He soon finds out he has much bigger problems than that!

Hecht first learns he may be in trouble when his agent, Myron Selznick (Brian Coker) informs him of the death of Armitage Trail, the writer of the book on which his screenplay is based. Knowing the subject of the book to be a gangster uncannily similar to the legendary Al Capone, Hecht fears the infamous Mob Boss has bumped Trail off and has it out for him next. He tries to skip town but before he can he has to deal with his drunk neighbor, a blonde actress, a movie censor, two gangsters from Capone, and the hotel detective. All of which provide hilarious complications and comedic elements to this playful, historically based tale.

This farcical comedy runs on fast pacing and exaggerated actions; a formula that works surprisingly well with the lighthearted story line and doesn’t feel as patronizing as one would expect. The characters are not markedly round nor is the story complex; But one still walks away feeling satisfied and entertained with the clear plot and engaging interactions between characters. The play’s structure and feel take a moment to get used to which makes the beginning of the production a little rough. Act II comes on a bit more relaxed and easier to enjoy much faster than the first act. Altogether it is a very well done production that does accomplish its goal of pure enjoyment.

Evan Harris does a great job in the main role. He has wonderful chemistry with each of the characters and is able to move the play along at a good pace.

Laura Skyes is wonderful as Dovie Love. She accomplishes being a very strong presence while keeping the role light and funny.

Cory Granner not only designed the lighting for this production but also plays one of the gangsters sent to bring Hecht in line. He does quite well with the accent and personality called for by the role and works wonderfully with Harris and Underwood.

Todd Janssen plays the inebriated neighbor famously. His solo scene with the minibar is one of the most hilarious scenes of the production.

Beth Munson surprises as the pompous movie sensor. Her conservative character makes a rapid change that is sure to elicit wholehearted laughs!

Sam McCalla is the entertainingly unhelpful detective. Though a supporting role, McCalla holds his own and is not overtaken by the other characters on stage with him.

Brian Coker does well as Hecht’s agent who sets the stage at the beginning of the play and helps tie things up at the end.

The directors at the heart of the production did a wonderful job. Allan McCalla and Suzanne McCalla are to be commended for the enjoyable direction of the play. The lighting is straightforward but with little touches that give it just enough flair. Thomas Brooks’s costumes and Kim Granner’s set give clear depiction of the era while showing a proper amount of affection for the style of the time.

A Visit From Scarface runs through April 23rd. For Tickets visit www.greenvillelittletheatre.org

 

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