By Cassidy Loria of Oakton High School
It may not be Christmas yet, but the holiday spirit was seamlessly and festively brought to the stage with The Man Who Came to Dinner at Langley High School.
Written by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart, and with 739 Broadway performances and a movie inspired by the play, The Man Who Came to Dinner is the perfect comedic masterpiece packed with shenanigans, trickery, and tenderness galore! The story follows pretentious radio star Sheridan Whiteside after he slips on the front steps of the home of the loveable Stanley family. “Sherry” is confined in the chaotic Stanley house for his recovery with his secretary Maggie Cutler by his side, and Christmas is just weeks away.
Whiteside soon grows fond of the people he is living with and though unplanned, stays longer than he has to, encouraging the Stanley family to look at life in a new way and follow their dreams. Director Brian Kaufman deftly utilized the cast to create the themes of found family and learning to love.
Leading the show was Conor Farah as Sheridan Whiteside. Farah presented every comedic moment flawlessly, taking the show by Santa’s reins and leaving no dull moment while he was on stage. Though his witty one liners and animated acting, even while in a wheelchair, guided the story with flair, his more tender and heartfelt moments with the family are something not to be forgotten. Playing opposite Farah was the encaptivating Sarah Hilton, as Whiteside’s intelligent secretary, Maggie Cutler. Hilton had a poised persona and dazzling dialect, serving as a grounding point for the overall tumultuous show. Both Farah and Cutler played off each other impeccably, showcasing the ups and downs of their relationship with ease.
Other standout performers of the night were Scarlett Spano, the siren-like movie star Lorraine Sheldon, and Joana Lima Alves Montenegro as Harriet, the creepily obsessed family member of the Stanley household. Both performers stole every scene they were in, thanks to their big personalities and strong comedic choices.
The spectacular set, led by set design head Killian Korchnak, featured intricate details of the home, such as working doors, stairs that allowed cast members to be on another level, and a working piano. The home was perfectly cluttered to present real life, without being distracting from the performance. The costume team, led by Logan Dooley, fabricated costumes that matched the characters’ growth throughout the show; as each character opened up to new ideas, their wardrobe became more colorful and freer.
Langley High School’s The Man Who Came to Dinner may not be your typical holiday fare, but it provided lots of laughs, deep thoughts and a jubilant celebration of family.