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Stage Reviews : 'George Washington Slept Here'

May 08, 1987|MARK CHALON SMITH

"George Washington Slept Here" is not one of Kaufman and Hart's more subtle comedies, and the La Habra Depot Playhouse doesn't approach it as if it were, giving this slap-happy tale of country living gone haywire an almost vaudevillian treatment.

Director Dave Schmidt is not shy about playing it brassy or letting the cast whoop it up in their roles, but that's OK. This isn't cerebral stuff. This 1940 comedy is more an attenuated slapstick sketch--albeit a well-written one--than anything else.

Newton Fuller, a lifelong New Yorker who dreams of the country life, buys a decrepit farmhouse that purportedly sheltered George Washington during the Revolutionary War. His family isn't sure about this new purchase or about the bucolic life, but they're a game group willing to work it out. But nothing goes right with the house. A mean neighbor creates problems. A despised uncle invites himself for a visit. High jinks abound.

The performances are loud, physical, predictable and, for the most part, funny. The best portrayals are by Richard Morrison as the pleasant but inept Newton; Terry Hanrahan as his sardonic, put-upon wife; McCullon Smith as the taciturn, ever-whittling farmhand and Kathy Mahoney as the showy actress whose randy husband is having an affair with the Fullers' naive daughter.

Mark Laskowski's well-observed set creates the impression of a ramshackle house in desperate need of a face lift, and David Temple's costumes reflect the period.

George Washington Slept Here A La Habra Depot Playhouse production of the play by Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman. Director: Dave Schmidt. Principal cast members: McCullon Smith, Richard Morrison, Terry Hanrahan, Ann McFadden, Kai Dominic, Beth Graham, Ruth Siegall, Barry Altman, Kathy Mahoney, Melanie Smith, Casey Hanrahan, Manny Siegall, Randy Connellie, Pat Johnson, Elisa Altman and Mark Shubin. Scene design: Mark Laskowski. Costume design: Dave Temple. Lighting and sound design: Jenson Crawford. Plays at 8 p.m. May 8, 9, 15, 16. Tickets: $6 for adults and $4.50 for senior citizens and students. 311 S. Euclid Ave., La Habra. (213) 905-9708.

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