An Angel, Angell's Seamed Stockings & A Little Girl Gets ItThursday, November 29, 2012
|Bernard Cuffling, Clarence - Angel First Class
Vancouver artist William Featherstone died in 2009 at age 82. Statistics would have dictated a much earlier death, an automobile accident on his way home in Brackendale BC. I first met Featherstone in 1980 in the editor’s office at Vancouver Magazine. He had been relieved of his wallet (cash and credit cards) the previous evening, by an unknown sweetie in a clandestine sleepover at the Marble Arch Hotel. His pal, Malcolm Parry sprung lunch. In all the years that Featherstone taught at the then Emily College of Art and Design he drove home many times under the influence.
The above is my proof for the existence of guardian angels. I take this year’s (and every other year) Arts Club Theatre Company’s production of Philip Grecian’s It’s a Wonderful Life and its resident Clarence, Angel Second Class (played with soaring , though featherless expertise by Bernard Cuffling ) seriously.
For Thursday’s opening at the Granville Island Stage I was accompanied by my granddaughter Lauren Stewart, 10. Her sister Rebecca, 15, who has seen many productions of the play, predicted that her sister would not get it. She was wrong. Beginning with Cuffling’s excellent diction which Lauren understood so well and Dean Paul Gibson’s smart direction, she got it. Gibson made sure that we all saw Uncle Billy (David Marr) drop the Manila envelope with $8000 on the floor and then how it ended between copies of newspapers on evil tycoon Henry Potter’s (Alex Willows) lap.
It didn’t take higher mathematics for Lauren to figure out that old fashioned (and yet so current) greed was the culprit of the drama on stage. She laughed at the children while I enjoyed the rear views Lindsey Angell’s (she plays Violet the flirt who becomes a lady of the night in George Bailey’s, Bob Frazer, town.) long legs with the ever so beautiful seamed stockings. I followed the seams up to where things got even more interesting. I have seen Angell in meatier plays and I hope to see her again in such rolls even if I will have to sacrifice my vision of those legs.
Opening night marked the 200 production of the play by the Arts Club Theatre Company. Angel Bernard Cuffling and Kyle Jesperson (Peter Bailey) have appeared in every production of the play since its inception in 2007. Quite close to that record is Jennifer Lines (Mary Bailey) who can still distract me from Angell’s legs when her house coat drops and we see her in a teddy!
Perhaps Lines can convince us she is only 18 because of charms she has honed as Cleopatra in Bard on the Beach’s production of Antony & Cleopatra in 2010. It took me just a few seconds to note that the clean-faced Bob Frazer had equally clean hands without one spot of blood. How an actor can go from being Macbeth (he was so in Bard on the Beach’s Macbeth this year) to a squeaky clean banker in one season attests to the power of acting.
By the end of the evening I was refreshed through the eyes of my Lauren and we happily went home reliving Clarence’s masterful caching in the air of two bullets directed at George Bailey’s back.
Lauren and I will be back next year for more of the festive same.