A Murder Mystery in Beverly Hills
“The Manor” at Greystone Manor …
Everything live theatre should be.
Reviewed by Eric Flores[dropcap letter=”T”]his Production can only be described as an experience that must be had by all. From the direction, to the writing, to the wonderful performances, this show grabs you from the very moment you step inside of the beautiful Greystone Manor. This gorgeous architectural monument gives way to a heartbreaking story that, when re-enacted, is absolutely breathtaking.
When walking into the main hall, you get a sense of being surrounded by the story well before it even begins. The performance is staged in an intimate setting that immerses you, inviting you to take part. The story begins by a live narration. Narrated by the three servants of the MacAlister family: Ursula, the housekeeper, played charmingly by the wonderful and funny Katherine Henryk; James, the devoted butler played somberly by David Hunt Stafford; and Ellie, the mute but empathetic maid, played by Esther Levy Richman. It must be said that Esther’s performance was beyond beautiful. Through her visual miming and incredible acting, we could understand and feel every word she was expressing.
As the performance officially begins, music of the 1920’s sets the mood. First, David Hunt Stafford announces that there will be a wedding between Sean MacAlister, played by Ben Gavin and Abby MacAlister played by Shelby Kocee. The chemistry and love between these two seemed real and was felt by everyone in the audience. On the flip side is Gregory Pugh, played by the brilliant Caleb Slavens, and his very loud and outgoing wife Henrietta Hevesham Pugh, played by Annalee Scott, who is the very bane of Gregory’s Existence.
Charles MacAlister, the patriarch of the family, portrayed by the brilliant Darby Hinton, has a demanding presence about him. He commands every scene with a wonderful balance between family man and business man. He is a warm and generous character who wants nothing but the best for his family. His loving wife Marion, played by Kathrine Bates, is the very glue that holds this loving family together.
As the show progresses we join the family in their many struggles. We watch and feel the pains that they endure at the hands of longtime friend Senator Alfred Winston, played by Daniel Leslie who does an outstanding job of making the audience fall in love with his southern charm despite the fact that he has demons of his own.
As the audience is physically walked from room to room throughout the Manor, each scene is unfolding in various settings. As you walked by one room, you could witness another scene unfolding at that very moment as if none of this was merely theatre. This makes it all the more engaging, especially knowing tonight’s story is a depiction of the true tale behind the Manor itself.
Overall, it is safe to say you won’t soon forget this production. It will stay with you for a very long time. It tugs at your heart and soul and keeps you wanting more. It moves you in ways you never knew live theater could move you. It’s one the most unique experiences I have ever had the absolute joy of experiencing. It not only echoes through the halls of the mansion but also through you as it happens.
If you can you must make it a priority to enjoy this amazing piece of living art that is “The Manor”, GO!
TICKETS: $60 per person
DATES: January 15, 20, 22, 26, 27, 29 | February 1, 2, 3, 5
LOCATION: Greystone Mansion | 905 Loma Vista Drive | Beverly Hills CA
Buy Tickets, visit: www.greystonemansion.org