Absurdity Excels at Mount Vernon

Absurdity Excels at Mount Vernon

Two star-crossed lovers, a drunken general, a set of rival ambassadors are intertwined in a twist on Shakespeare's classic love story.

Those elements and comedic absurdity made Mount Vernon's performance of "Romanoff and Juliet" by Peter Ustinov, a delightful experience.

The smallest, unknown, unnamed country in the world becomes of great national importance when both the Russian (Joe Savage) and American (Michael Hall) ambassadors fight for the General's vote in the United Nations. The General (Jake Balliew) becomes involved in tricking the son and daughter of the ambassadors to fall in love, bringing the political stalemate to an end. An engaging group of lead performers yielded an enjoyable show. Balliew's General, carried the show through his hilarious shenanigans. As the Russian father, Savage had the demanding task of executing a difficult role with a crisp accent and strong character, but he managed well.

Although the chemistry between some characters was deficient at times, the connection between the tragic lovers Igor Romanoff (Daniel Phillips) and Juliet Moulsworth (Emily Balliew) was dazzling. Even though Marfa's (Juliana Johnson) stage time was limited, she pronounced exceptional stage presence through her cunning character and sharp Russian accent. Through much of this comedic play, the actors learned to play off each other, some better than others. Distinct characters revealed a strong grasp on their droll characterizations, which gave the show a great kick.

The stage was adorned with a beautiful fountain, which was used frequently throughout the show as a comedic median between the two feuding families. The lighting, although absent at times, was executed well in showing the difference between the two houses. Ending with a clever monologue recited by the General, this production of Romanoff and Juliet was indeed a hilarious good time.