The Milwaukee Post

April 03, 2015

Milwaukee Post

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By JULIE MCHALE Post Theater Critic MILWAUKEE — Fifteen years ago I began review- ing shows in the basement of Brumder Mansion when this charming bed and breakfast on 31st and Wisconsin in Milwaukee offered shows regularly. After Carole Hirschi sold the house in 2007, and it was bought by a California couple, Tom and Julie Carr, in 2008, the basement was refigured and refurnished to accommodate theater works as well as provide an entertainment space for music concerts, art exhibits, open-mic events and even weddings. It is a beautiful, intimate space. The mansion is an aesthetic wonder, if you appreciate architecture and a tasteful mix of the old and the new. "Death By Design," by Rob Urbinati, the comic mystery now being pre- sented, matches the quality of the mansion. The script is clever, the characters well-conceived, the actors flawless, and the direction masterful. I have already earmarked it as one of the best of 2015, and we're only in the first quarter. The play is set in on the outskirts of London, and its flavor reminds one of Noel Coward and Agatha Christie with a bit of the satiric edge of George Bernard Shaw thrown in for good measure. It is extremely funny with a good bit of suspense thrown in as well. The mix of characters include a self-impressed playwright and his fiery actress wife, a crafty maid and a womanizing chauf- feur, a priggish self-right- eous politician, a rabid socialist, a kooky artist, and a myopic school- teacher. The plot involves jeal- ousy, rage, revenge, and love, of sorts. It also has its commentary on marriage, theater and politics. The dialogue is so clever that one almost has to stop laughing so as not to miss the next word. There is some physical humor as well, all well executed in a relatively small space and a helpful set of stairs. The set design by Tom Marks is posh and func- tional with three means of entrances and exits. Who killed Walter? The central question in the play is who killed Walter? Everyone seems to loathe the man and his pompous pronouncements. Saviors are usually unbear- able. Marcus Beyer is per- fect in the role. Sorel, the actress he comes to visit, played by Alicia Rice, is histrionic and insatiable when it comes to being pampered and adored. Rice aces it. Her husband Edward is absolutely superbly ren- dered by Eric Williams Jones. I'm still smiling as I think back on his perform- ance. The two servants, Melody Lopac (Bridgit) and Cory Jefferson Hagen (Jack), are a delight to watch. They seem to know more than anyone else. The three other unannounced visitors include the outra- geous artist/dancer/ spiritualist Victoria, a friend of Sorel's. Keighley Sadler captures this char- acter's zaniness and volatil- ity. Eric, played by Hugh Blewett, is a sorry little creature with a fierce pas- sion for social justice. He maintains his fierceness despite being tossed about a good bit. We like him. Lastly, Alice, a jealous girlfriend of the chauffeur Jack, intrudes upon an already complicated scene and adds to the chaos and the surprise ending. Liz Faraglia takes on this chal- lenging role as she gropes about in her semi-blind state. Director Zack Woods deserves a lot of credit, for even though he had a won- derful script and eight tal- ented actors to work with, he still had to pace the show and bring out the best in both. He definitely did. If you've never visited this unique theater at 3047 W. Wisconsin Ave., this show would be an excellent introduction to it. It will close for Easter but resume its run April 10 to 12 at 7:30 p.m. Call 414-388-9104 or visit www.brumderman- April 3, 2015 • Milwaukee County Post • 17 'Death by Design' ranks among season's best For the uninitiated, Brumder Mansion is worth seeing At a glance "Death by Design" If you've never visited the unique theater at the Brumder Mansion, 3047 W. Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee, this show would be an excellent introduc- tion to it. It will close for Easter but resume its run April 10 to 12 at 7:30 p.m. Call 414-388-9104 or visit www.brumder Submitted photo From left are "Death by Design's" cast Hugh Blewett, Alicia Rice, Eric Williams Jones, Keighley Sadler, Cory Jefferson Hagen, Melody Lopac, Liz Faraglia and Marcus Beyer in the Brumder Mansion in Milwaukee. Film critic Julia McHale already rates the play as one of the best for 2015. The dialogue is so clever that one almost has to stop laughing so as not to miss the next word.There is some physical humor as well, all well executed in a relatively small space and a helpful set of stairs. Church Directory To advertise in this section, contact Julia at 414-744-6370 ext. 17 Milwaukee Messiah Evangelical Lutheran Church 2015 E. Fernwood Ave. 414-744-2170 Pastor Curtis Golm 262-308-2911 Sunday Worship Time: 9:30am Easter Worship Services Maundy Thursday 7:00pm Good Friday 7:00pm Easter Sunday 7:30am & 9:30am Bible Class: 10:45am 709 W. Oklahoma Ave. 481-8170 Accepting Blue Cross, Anthem, TRICARE, Express Scripts and more... Health Tip of the Week Registered Pharmacist Bob Stresing and the Serv-U Team 243498039 Blood Sugar & Dementia Risk Diabetes is an established risk factor for dementia. However, new research suggests that even in people without diabetes, above-normal blood sugar levels may increase the risk of demensia. Researchers tracked more than 2,000 adults, average age 76, (most of whom did not have diabetes) for seven years and found that any increase in blood glucose levels was associated with an increased risk of dementia. The higher the blood sugar levels, the greater the risk. The good news is that another study showed that even a 15-minute brisk walk 30 minutes after a meal can help lower blood sugar levels.

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