"THE KILLING OF SISTER GEORGE" IS DARKLY COMIC
When actresses seek out juicy roles on stage and in the movies, Kathleen Turner has gotten more than a fair share of "Tropicana" hits. Recently she starred on Broadway in the searing role of Martha in "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" Before that she was Maggie the Cat in "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof." She has also embodied the soul of Tallulah Bankhead in a memorable one woman show as well as Mrs. Robinson in "The Graduate." From Jessica Rabbit to Peggy Sue, the adventurous Joan Wilder opposite Michael Douglas and the infamous Matty in "Body Heat," Ms. Turner is no stranger to roles that challenge, inspire and even frighten.
Now she has turned her considerable talents in a new direction and New Haven's Long Wharf Theatre is reaping the benefits. In discovering a play, a dark comedy of a vintage almost five decades ago, she saw its potential and has orchestrated its return to the stage. "The Killing of Sister George" by Frank Marcus has been updated and adapted by Jeffrey Hatcher and will inaugurate Long Wharf's newly renovated Claire Tow Stage in the C. Newton Schenck II Mainstage Theatre until Sunday, December 23.
Not only does Ms. Turner direct this twisting comic farce she stars in it as June Buckridge, the caring nurse who tends the poor and sickly on the successful British radio soap opera "Applehurst." Off the air, June is a hard talking, take-no-prisoners feminist who intimidates her young lover and helpmate Childie, captured perfectly by Clea Alsip.
When June senses that her character, Sister George, is likely to be "bumped off" due to falling ratings, she rants at Childie and then consults her resident psychic Madame Xenia, a perceptive Olga Merediz.
The brassy broad Ms. Buckridge downs a few gins and smokes a few stogies as she confronts the radio station's representative Mercy Croft, a diplomatic and calculating Betsy Aiden, who is set to deliver the axe to the sacrificial Thanksgiving turkey. Whether or not the axe will hit its mark makes the plot even more delicious.
For tickets ($40-70), call Long Wharf Theatre, 222 Sargent Drive, New Haven at 203-787-4282 or online at www.longwharf.org. Performances are Tuesday at 7 p.m., Wednesday at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., Thursday at 8 p.m., Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.
A day of myth, magic and monsters is planned for the whole family on Saturday, December 15 from 9 a.m. to noon. You are invited to come dressed as your favorite princess, knight, wizard and monster. To register for "Quest for Long Wharf Castle," go online at www.longwharf.org or call 203-787-4282.
Support the theatre's Toys for Tots Drive by bringing a new, unwrapped toy to the theatre lobby until December 20. Marines will then deliver them to less fortunate children in the community.
The perfect holiday gift is an "Anytime Pass" for $50 each, a minimum purchase of four, to be exchanged for one play or to use throughout the season. Call the box office for more information.
Let this all-female cast take you on a journey with June as she battles the forces determined to insure her demise.