'Picnic' production works well on Poway stage

Review by Katherine Aronson in local paper.

The Poway Performing Arts Company's presentation of "Picnic" shows community theater at its best. The William Inge play is set in a small Kansas town in a yard shared by Flo Owens (Irene Billingsley) and Helen Potts (Sheila Miller).

Madge Owens (Suzan Bennett), the pretty, delicate star, is stuck in a wholesome, routine life. Her mother has plans for her to marry Alan Seymour (J. Dennis Riddle), the clean-cut boy next door. She is a little envious of her sister, Millie Owens (Lisa Witt), the smart one, who has been offered a college scholarship. Her life seems boring to her, but at least it's solid and without risk.

This all changes when Hal Carter (Jason Rosso) comes to town. Employed by Helen Potts to do miscellaneous jobs around the house, this drifter catches Madge's eye. She is faced with the most difficult decision of her life - whether to stay where she is, marry Alan and live a stable, comfortable life, or follow Hal, whom she loves, to wherever he might drift next.

There is also a subplot in which a schoolteacher, Rosemary Sydney (Sharon Vermeulen), is feeling her age and tries desperately to convince Howard Bevans (Johnn Rand) to propose marriage.

The characters in this play were all well portrayed. The performance by Witt was especially good.

Ian Boyd, as the paperboy, also used his time on the stage well and added some excitement to the play. Amy Lincoln and Patricia Riddle were wonderful as Rosemary's gossipy friends. Rand also gave a super performance as Bevans.

The set design was realistic and fit well with the play. Lighting, also, was realistic and dramatic, without being overly intense. The costuming was done well, with all of the clothes indigenous to the plot and suited to the people who wore them.

The play was performed with a lot of energy. Although there were a few lapses in this energy, the show was mostly upbeat and kept moving at a quick pace. Jack White did a superb job of directing.

The Poway Performing Arts Company will give any theatergoer a wonderful performance and a comfortable, friendly atmosphere in which to watch it.

The play continues through Nov. 7 at the Golden Academy Theater at 13634 Cynthia Lane, off Midland Road in Poway. Tickets are for adults and for seniors and children.

For reservations and more information, call 679-8085.