The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

WEEKENDER / Entertainment

February 15, 2013

‘Crimes of the Heart’ works well despite younger cast


ASHTABULA —  “Crimes of the Heart,” as performed by the Ashtabula Arts Center’s G.B. Community Theatre, is a wickedly wry black comedy set in Hazelhurst, Miss., 5 years after Hurricane Camille.

It tells the story of three sisters from an incredibly dysfunctional family who are left to examine the consequences of their own personal crimes of the heart. Steeped in southern nuance and atmosphere, “Crimes of the Heart” is funny, fun, and well worth seeing.

 “Crimes of the Heart” was written by Beth Henley in 1978. It originally opened on Broadway in 1981, directed by Melvin Bernhardt, and ran for 535 shows. A Tony Award winner, it was adapted for the screen in 1986. Since then it has been a perennial off-Broadway and small theatre stock production. 

The first scene of “Crimes of the Heart” is a tearjerker. For leading character Lenny McGrath, portrayed by Amanda Latva, it looks like it’s going to be a bad day. ‘Old Grand-daddy,’ the closest thing to a father Lenny has ever had, is on his deathbed. Her youngest sister, Babe, is in jail awaiting arraignment for shooting her husband, and her wild sister Meg can’t even be located. Her beloved pet pony has been struck dead by lightning. And it’s her birthday and no one remembered.

Things continue to get worse, but for each complication there’s more audience laughter. As situations grow increasingly dire they almost seem absurd, leading to a lot more laughter. Almost everyone has had bad days, but not like this.

A very young G. B. Community Theatre cast tackles the task of performing this relatively difficult ‘dialect piece’ with relish — and fine results. Each actor or actress brings something to his or her part, whether it’s flair, emotional insight, or the appropriate quirk. Latva perfectly plays the bedraggled oldest sister, Lenny Magrath, and Angela Orr artfully plays her nemesis Chick Boyle, her scheming, nasty cousin. Ashley Perts is very credible as the star-struck, flakey middle sister, and David E. Ard believably portrays Doc Porter, her heartbroken, sexually frustrated ex-boyfriend. Gabby Sherbeyn plays youngest sister Babe Botrelle with equal parts of childish innocence and lunacy, and Joshua Woodward faithfully plays Babe’s befuddled, vendetta-bound lawyer.

Text Only
WEEKENDER / Entertainment
  • wd friday heat bspot 3 .jpg B-Side Music in Ashtabula is ready for Record Store Day

    Record Store Day 2014 is Saturday and Ashtabula’s B-Side Music is ready for it. The day long event celebrates independent record stores around the world and provides vinyl and CD collectors with an opportunity to find rare releases and re-releases.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • wd heat charlies 1 .jpg ‘Charley’s Aunt’ at Harbor Playhouse will keep family laughing

    The road to love can be a drag. Just ask the cast of Harbor Playhouse Theatrical Co-Op’s three-act family comedy “Charley’s Aunt.”

    October 11, 2013 3 Photos

  • wd heat rocky 9 .jpg ‘The Rocky Horror Show’ is well performed, funny and worth seeing

    Mention “The Rocky Horror Show” and almost everyone has an opinion, whether they've seen the movie or stage adaptation or not. It has been a cult classic for over three decades, since its release in 1975, and it has garnered plenty of criticism and negative commentary. Because public reaction to this extremely odd piece of musical comedy has been so strong for so long, many with an opinion have never even seen the movie or play. And many certainly do not understand that it is a spoof of shock theater. Yet they continue to berate the show as immoral and lewd.

    October 11, 2013 1 Photo

  • tuesdayfreddiesmith.jpg Ashtabula native nominated for Daytime Emmy

    Freddie Smith was thrilled to hear of his nomination for a Daytime Emmy for his role on “Days of Our Lives.”

    May 7, 2013 1 Photo

  • HEATACCMS Youth 12-13 .jpg Music, art worldwide at Lakeside festival

     A celebration of folk arts from around the world is the theme of the “Big, Wide, Wonderful World” festival Saturday at Lakeside High School.

    May 3, 2013 1 Photo


    The May art exhibit at the Ashtabula Arts Center will feature “Lake Shore Artists Presents...” On display today until May 29, the exhibit will feature works by local artists.

    May 3, 2013

  • georgejoes.jpeg Country star George Jones dead at 81

     George Jones, the peerless, hard-living country singer who recorded dozens of hits about good times and regrets and peaked with the heartbreaking classic "He Stopped Loving Her Today," has died. He was 81.

    April 26, 2013 1 Photo

  • heatst.peters.eps-1.jpg Strike up the orchestra in Ashtabula

    WEEKENDER for April 26, 2013:  The St. Peter's Fine Arts Concert Series' “Great Music Without Barriers” will present an ensemble of Cleveland Orchestra members at a May 19 concert.

    April 26, 2013 2 Photos

  • WEEKENDER for April 26, 2013

    CALENDAR for April 26, 2013

    April 26, 2013

  • heathreewomenoncouch.jpg Young cast excels in ‘Adventures of Tom Sawyer’

     Few novels have been adapted for the stage as many times and different ways as Mark Twain’s “Tom Sawyer.”

    April 26, 2013 1 Photo

House Ads

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
AP Video