Posted in Cliff Bemis, Cynthia Darlow, George Kelly, Jesse Marchese, Kristin Griffith, Patricia Kilgariff, romantic comedy, Sean Patrick Hopkins, The Mint Theatre, Victoria Mack

"The Fatal Weakness" afflicts us all

As human beings, we are all to a greater or lesser degree, sentimental creatures.

Before the curtain rises on “The Fatal Weakness” by George Kelly.
Set design for The Mint Theater production by Vicki R. Davis.
Photo by Richard Termine.

“The Fatal Weakness,” written by George Kelly in 1946, in revival at The Mint Theater through October 26th, is man’s (and woman’s) essential romanticism.

Kristin Griffith as Mrs. Ollie Espenshade in “The Fatal Weakness” by George Kelly.Photo by Richard Termine.

It leads Mrs. Ollie Espenshade (Kristin Griffith) to attend random weddings and her husband Paul (Cliff Bemis) to find a little extra kick in his step.

Cliff Bemis as Mr. Paul Espenshade and Victoria Mack as Penny Hassett
in George Kelly’s “The Fatal Weakness,” at the Mint. Photo by
Richard Termine.

On the other hand, their daughter, Penny Hassett (Victoria Mack) wears a veneer of cynical bravado. Can her free-thinking views on marriage be upended by her husband Vernon’s (Sean Patrick Hopkins) staunch fidelity?

“The Fatal Weakness” is a top-shelf drawing room comedy.Under Jesse Marchese’s direction, George Kelly’s upper crust comedy is perfectly paced. The actors, all outstanding, bring this charming play to life. Kristin Griffith, as Ollie, is centerstage, and gives a wonderfully nuanced performance.

Kristin Griffith as Ollie, Cliff Bemis as Paul, and Cynthis Darlow
as Mrs. Mabel Wentz in “The Fatal Weakness” by George Kelly.Photo by Richard Termine.

Ollie’s friend Mrs. Mabel Wentz (Cynthia Darlow)  delights in carrying tales. She has no illusions about why Paul has begun whistling and paying such careful attention to his wardrobe. Hers is a kind of inverse of romanticism.  Unlike Penny or Ollie, Anna (Patricia Kilgarriff),  the household maid, may be the only one completely clear-eyed about how relationships prosper or end.

Patricia Kilgarriff as Anna with Kristin Griffith as Ollie in
“The Fatal Weakness” by George Kelly. Costumes by
Andrea Varga. Photo by Richard Termine.

As “The Fatal Weakness” opens, a lace curtain rises to reveal a stunningly opulent room, designd by Vicki R. Davis, with mirrored walls and plush furniture.

The Mint Theater has once again rediscovered a lively and enjoyable jewel of a “forgotten” play.

For more information about “The Fatal Weakness,” please visit www.minttheater.org.