By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Eric Nicholson
There's a fine line between egregious overacting and portraying someone bigger-than-life like Riding, who so overplayed the drama of everyday business that she jumped out a third-story window to prove a point and lived to gloat about it. Arnold errs on the wrong side, overacting to the point of coarseness. She gestures with all the subtlety of a drum major. In her big scenes, she sneers and scowls like Susan Lucci going for broke at Emmy time.
Arnold also gets tripped up by whatever accent she's using, a sort of Mid-Atlantic/British/Southern/Polish mishmash. "You will study widges," she says to Kit at one point. Only later does it become apparent that she meant "witches."
Director Katherine Owens should have pulled harder on the reins with Arnold and gotten something less hysterical and grating out of her Riding.
Design-wise, Tristan Decker's minimalist set consists of little more than some beige flats and a suggestion of clapboards. Morgan Rowe-Morris' harsh lighting casts big, distracting shadows on those beige flats.
The costuming by Happy Yancey captures the Depression period. But she keeps the Jacksons in the same outfits most of the time and gives Riding and Graves lots of changes, including several dresses and robes for her and sweaters and jackets for him. For paupers, they have an impressive wardrobe.
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