American Players Theatre’s ‘Circle’ Shaped By Wit, Heart
Elizabeth Cheney (Susan
Shunk), wife of parliamentary up-and-comer Arnold Champion-Cheney (Paul
Hurley), invites mother-in-law Lady Kitty (Tracy Michelle Arnold) and her
paramour Lord Porteous (James Ridge) to their palatial country home in Dorset, England,
to better understand how age and unfettered love have affected the former
Lady Kitty left her
husband, Clive Champion-Cheney (Brian Mani), 30 years earlier to take up with
Porteous, effectively destroying the friendship and political careers of both
men. However, the elder Champion-Cheney arrives for an unexpected visit,
putting the three former friends and lovers together once again in a triangle
that mirrors Elizabeth’s
conflicted emotions over her husband and Teddy Lutton (Marcus Truschinski),
another guest at the house.
Arnold, Mani and Ridge all deliver outstanding performances, with Ridge stealing most scenes with his surly attitude and phlegmy retorts. Mani once again plays the patrician, a character type at which he excels, and Arnold runs a rich range of emotions from vanity to delight to despair. In the end, it is a wiser love that does indeed conquer all.