Monday, March 3, 2014
“A SONG AT TWILIGHT” HUMS WITH LIES AND DECEPTIONS
The old saying goes that a secret is safe between three people only if two of them are dead. You may bury the past under six feet of dirt and deceit, but its bony fingers may rise to the surface, especially when you least expect it and most dread it happening.
For successful writer and person of note, Hugo Latymer that moment comes when an old flame, the actress Carlotta Gray, dramatically reenters his life with an unusual request. The Hartford Stage will produce this sophisticated tale “A Song at Twilight” by Noel Coward until Sunday, March 16, in a co-production with the Westport Country Playhouse.
Mia Dillon is perfection as the devoted and dedicated wife Hilde, who knows her place and her purpose. She has graduated from Hugo’s secretary to a platform of respectability as his wife of two decades. She reveres his prominence and enjoys her role as helpmate. Now, with the advent of his former mistress, Carlotta, a forthright and clever Gordana Rashovich, invading their private lives, Hilde is prepared to stand by Hugo. His frail health needs to be guarded and she is ready to be at his side for protection.
For his part, Hugo, a manipulative and domineering Brian Murray, doesn’t tolerate anyone crossing his personal borders. He is barely civil to Hilde, although she takes his criticisms in stride. Agree with him and he can be charming; question him and all gloves and bets are off.
The confrontation takes place at a prestigious hotel in Switzerland and Carlotta has an agenda, one Hugo is loath to acknowledge. Secrets and lies are ready to tumble out of the velvet bag they have been stored in for years. But are they really secrets or does Hugo desperately want them to be? Will their revelation destroy his reputation? Who will back down first when daggers are drawn? Mark Lamos keeps the tension taut and the wit brittle and sharp, on a luxurious set designed by Alexander Dodge.
For tickets ($25 and up), call the Hartford Stage, 50 Church Street, Hartford at 860-527-5151 or online at www.hartfordstage.org. Performances are Tuesday, Wednesday,Thursday, and Sunday at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., with matinees Sunday and selected Wednesdays and Saturdays at 2 p.m.
Order your brandy or flute of pink champagne from Felix, the waiter (Nicholas Carriere) so you will be properly lubricated as you witness the curious conflict Carlotta stages with the confidence that she can control the results.