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By Robert Delaney
A failed New York playwright feels he finally has the inspiration to write a hit play just as his wife sees hope she can finally get her stalled career as an actress back on track in the Magenta Giraffe Theatre Company's production of Nicky Silver's The Agony & the Agony at 1515 Broadway, across from the Detroit Opera House.
This is a funny, funny play, ably directed by Lisa Melinn and featuring some of the Detroit area's best acting talent.
Keith Kalinowski, as the finally unblocked playwright Richard Aglow, and Alan Madlane, as the Broadway producer Anton Knight, vindicate everything I have written about what tremendous talents they are.
Molly McMahon, whole past roles have tended more toward the sweet and vulnerable, shows how tremendously versatile she is as the hard-edged and crude Anita.
Those who have good memories of Jonathon Davidson from some of his fine performances with Wayne State University Theatre will be glad to see how well he is putting that training to use as the shade of Nathan Leopold Jr.
Connie Cowper's portrayal of the desperate Lela Smith-Aglow reveals aspects of her talent one might have missed from some of her previous performances in more subdued parts. She has something akin to what the Cloris Leachman or Betty White of several decades ago had going for them.
And newcomer Dalibor Stolevski makes a strong stage debut as the loutish Chet, Anita's boyfriend.
It is a hilarious romp, played out on a set well-designed for the purpose by Gwen Lindsay.
But a word of caution is in order for those who find some language and themes objectionable, because this play has them aplenty. Others, however, will be glad they caught one of the remaining performances of this fun show.
The Agony and the Agony continues through Feb. 5 at 1515 Broadway, between John R and Grand Circus Park in downtown Detroit. For reservations or ticket information, call 313-408-7269 or go to www.magentagiraffe.org.
Reprinted with permission of the New Monitor, Jan. 27, 2011
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