Misalliance Review – George Bernard Shaw Shines

Josey Montana McCoy, Deborah Strang, Riely Shanahan, Frederick Stuart, and Pater Van Norden in MISALLIANCE - Photo by Craig Schwartz
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Who can resist George Bernard Shaw’s tantalizing and satirical plays? Written in 1909-1910, MISALLIANCE is certainly one of Shaw’s funniest, most carefree, comic farces offering one of the playwright’s most memorable observations: “If marriages were made by putting all the men’s names into one sack and the women’s names into another, and having them taken out by a blind-folded child, like lottery numbers, there would be just as high a percentage of happy marriages as we have now.” MISALLIANCE touches upon a myriad of ideas that attracted Shaw, including marriage, “the New Woman,” socialism, sex, class, gender, and physical fitness. First produced in 1910 in London with Shaw as director, MISALLIANCE has been presented over the years to delighted audiences. In 2024, A Noise Within proudly presents MISALLIANCE for today’s audiences.

Peter Van Norden, Frederick Stuart, Erika Soto, and Dan Lin – Photo by Craig Schwartz

The time is one single afternoon in England (Edwardian period), and the place is entirely in a large country home in Hindhead, Surrey, England. Much to the delight of nouveau riche underwear tycoon John Tarleton (Peter Van Norden) and his wife (Deborah Strang), their seemingly proper daughter Hypatia (Erika Soto) is betrothed to Bentley (Josey Montana McCoy), the son of Lord Summerhays – thus ensuring the family’s entry into Edwardian aristocracy. True, Bentley is a rather small, frail-looking specimen – but, to paraphrase Hypatia, at least he is intelligent and not boring. Hypatia’s brother Johnny (Riley Shanahan) only sees Bentley as irritating – but you can’t please everyone. Even Bentley’s father Lord Summerhays (Frederick Stuart) has some reservations about his son.

Deborah Strang, Trisha Miller, and Josey Montana McCoy – Photo by Craig Schwartz

The only fly in the ointment is Hypatia’s craving for some excitement in her life, something to drop out of the sky and turn her life around. Would an aeroplane circling the manor house and dropping into the all-glass greenhouse suffice? Especially when the handsome windblown pilot Joseph Percival (Dan Lin) sweeps in with his Polish circus acrobat passenger Lina Szczepanowska (Trisha Miller)? And let’s not forget about plump and plain Julius Baker (Joshua Bitton), a socialist clerk down on his luck who wants to avenge his late mother’s wrongs at the hands of John Tarleton. Perhaps the word excitement is too tame.

Joshua Bitton and Trisha Miller – Photo by Craig Schwartz

Director Guillermo Cienfuegos does a brilliant job of helming this riotous and chaotic mess with the able assistance of an uber-talented ensemble cast. All contained in Angela Balogh Calin’s glorious set and Christine Cover Ferro’s dazzling costumes. Chris Moscatiello’s sound and Ken Booth’s lighting round out the talented production crew. MISALLIANCE offers tongue-in-cheek humor and a big slice of uproarious laughs. This is an entertaining, humorous, satirical, and clever foray into Shaw’s world, warts and all. MISALLIANCE is a must-see production and one of A Noise Within’s best.

Josey Montana McCoy and Frederick Stuart – Photo by Craig Schwartz

MISALLIANCE runs through June 9, 2024, with performances at 7:30 p.m. on Thursdays (dark May 16), at 8 p.m. on Fridays, at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Saturdays (no matinee on May 18, no evening performance on June 8), and at 2 p.m. on Sundays. A Noise Within is located at 3352 E. Foothill Blvd., Pasadena, CA 91107. Tickets start at $29 (students $18, May 23 Pay-What-You-Choose starting at $10 available online beginning at noon the Monday prior to that performance and at the box office beginning at 2 p.m. on the day of the performance, discounts available for groups of 10+). For information and reservations, call 626-356-3100 or go online.


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