Monday, April 23, 2012

‘Farragut North’ delivers political intrigue at its best

Steve Reazor and Tyler Horn in 'Farragut North"

By Cheryl Thornburg
I have seen many excellent regional productions in the past year, but the best-acted of them all is Tri-County Performing Arts Center’s current production, “Farragut North.” 
With intense, free-flowing dialogue, this small, tightly-knit cast creates a sense of realism on stage that I haven’t seen in a long time. 
Tyler Horn, Philip Seader, abd Ken Mumma
Staged in the small upstairs venue at Tri-PAC, the audience is just a few feet from the actors, challenging them to stay in character every second.  And this cast more than meets that challenge.  Their conversation is so natural, that you feel like you are eaves-dropping on personal encounters.
Those encounters occur in Iowa a week before the presidential primary and candidates and their campaign staff are scrambling and scheming to win.
Tyler Horn and Carly Fried
Heading up the cast is Tyler Horn as Stephen Bellamy, a young hotshot and gifted press secretary for Governor Morris who appears to be the frontrunner so far. Horn is smooth and charming as the current golden boy of political spin, then shows his acting chops as things get out of his control and he deals with anger and frustration as he tries to salvage his career.
Matching his skill are those surrounding him – whether supporting him or manipulating him.
Steve Reazor delivers a multi-layered performance as Paul Zara, his boss and longtime friend. Reazor’s comedic gift was front and center in the hilarious “A Christmas Story.” His serious side is even better as the intense and calculating Zara.
Tyler Horn and Katherine Leary
Matching him in the calculating department is Ken Mumma as Tom Duffy, the campaign manager for Morris’ opposition. His character’s manipulation is subtle, as is Mumma’s performance.
Carly Fried is fascinating to watch as the flirtatious and aggressive reporter, Ida Horowicz. She brings a playful approach to Ida that reminds me of some fellow reporters.
Also flirtatious is Katherine Leary as Molly Pearson, a young intern who becomes an integral part of the story. Leary gradually peels back the layers of Molly’s personality to reveal that she is much more than a naïve 19-year-old intern.
Waiting in the wings to become the next wunderkind is Phillip Ballantine as Ben, a young staff member who follows Steve around trying to absorb and mimic his mystique. Ballantine’s Ben quietly makes the transition from submissive to aggressive  in just two hours.
Rounding out the cast are Porter Eidam as Frank, another reporter, and Philip Seader as a waiter. Though they don’t have as much time on stage, they make the most of their supporting roles.
Phillip Ballantine and Tyler Horn
Kudos to Director Leena Devlin who picked the perfect cast to bring this drama filled with ‘Farragut North’ delivers political intrigue at its bes political intrigue to life and worked with them to create a compelling theater experience.
“Farragut North” (named after a Metro stop in Washington, D.C.) is an intimate look at backroom politics and the back-stabbing that sometimes goes on in the quest for a ticket to the White House.
The dialogue is peppered with expletives, which may be uncomfortable for some people, but also makes the conversations uncannily realistic and believable.
“Farragut North” runs through April 29 at the Tri-County performing Arts Center, 245 E. High St. in Pottstown.
Show times are 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 3 p.m. Sunday are $15 for students and seniors (65+), and $17 for adults. Discounts are available for groups of 10 or more.  When available, tickets will be sold at the door. 
Tickets for all shows at the Tri-PAC are available online. Please note that seating is now reserved, so go to to purchase your tickets or call 610-970-1199.

P.S.  The timing for this show couldn’t be better – tomorrow, Tuesday April 24, is Primary Day in Pennsylvania.  Don’t forget to vote!


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