Review: The Woman in White (Lifeline Theatre)

| September 17, 2012
Walter Hartright (Nicholas Bailey, left) and Laura Fairlie (Maggie Scrantom, right) must oncover the secret of the woman in white; in Lifeline Theatre’s world premiere production of “The Woman in White." Photo by Suzanne Plunkett.        
The Woman in White 

Adapted by Robert Kauzlaric  
Directed by Elise Kauzlaric
at Lifeline Theatre, 6912 N. Glenwood (map)
thru Oct 28  |  tickets: $20-$40   |  more info
Check for half-price tickets 
        Read entire review


Lifeline offers a mesmerizing mystery about identity


Marian Halcombe (Lucy Carapetyan, left) suffers the affections of the dangerous Count Fosco (Christopher M. Walsh, right); in Lifeline Theatre’s world premiere production of “The Woman in White."  Photo by Suzanne Plunkett.

Lifeline Theatre presents
The Woman in White

Review by Katy Walsh

As the leaves change and the temperature drops, I long to curl up with a good book.  I want to be completely engrossed in another world, another time, another life. With all the multiple distractions vying for my attention, *curling up* turns into stolen reading moments:  a chapter during the drying cycle, a few pages on the bus, a paragraph at bedtime.  The less-than-immersion experience is detaching and dissatisfying.  If I really want to curl up with a good book, I’ve found Lifeline Theatre is my best bet.      

Walter Hartright (Nicholas Bailey, right) instructs Laura Fairlie (Maggie Scrantom, left) in the art of pastel; in Lifeline Theatre’s world premiere production of “The Woman in White.”  Photo by Suzanne PlunkettLifeline Theatre presents the world premiere of The Woman in White.  Laura falls for her art teacher, Walter.  But she is betrothed to Sir Percival Glyde.  So, she honors her deceased father’s pledge and marries Sir Percival.  Too late, she realizes her marital arrangement was all about money. She is the prize in a collusion by the men she trusted.  How does she escape this marital trap?  Who can she trust? What secrets will kill? Death, drugs and dementia will change everything.  The Woman in White is an intriguing mystery about identity.    

The marital team of Robert (adapter) and Elise Kauzlaric (director) bring this gothic thriller, penned by Wilkie Collins, to the stage.  Robert masterfully condenses the plethora of information into tasty morsels.  He keeps the dialogue crisp. Robert often uses letters read by one character to segue into a flashback performed by other characters.  Elise takes Robert’s script and streamlines the action.  Elise fluidly paces scene transitions by effectively using  every space of the iron-rod, functional and whimsical set by Alan Donahue. The scenery gets the shrouded gloom treatment with fog, lightening, thunder and fire by the design team (Kevin Gawley’s lighting and Christopher Kriz’ sound).  And Violence Designer Greg Poljacik orchestrates gasp-worthy incidents with unexpected and authentic fight scenes.  All the essential elements are present for bestseller entertainment.  And under Elise’s direction, this talented ensemble is bound and determined to captivate.     

The entire cast pulls the audience into the tangled heap of secrets and compels us to sort out the facts. In the lead, Maggie Scrantom (Laura/Anne) plays both her parts with distinction.  In one scene, Scrantom is a lovely but tortured bride.  Moments later, she is a deranged escapee. Even physically, Scrantom goes from sweet demure to gnarled loon. Anchoring the show as the primary narrator, Lucy Carapetyan (Marian) provides the sensibility factor.  Carapetyan endears with her sisterly commitment.  A dashing Ryan-Reynolds-doppelganger, Nicholas Bailey (Walter) charms as the steadfast hero. The gallant Bailey has the certifiably swoon-worthy factor of old Harlequin romance novels. And bringing his signature scene-stealing hilarity, Christopher M. Walsh, no relation, (Count) plays haughty and cruel with mustache twirling elegance. 

Have I read any good books lately?  Yes!  I curled up with one at Lifeline Theatre yesterday.  The Woman in White is the perfect Autumn getaway! 

Rating: ★★★½

The Woman in White continues through October 28th at Lifeline Theatre, 6912 N. Glenwood (map), with performances Thursdays and Fridays at 7:30pm, Saturdays at 4pm and 8pm, Sundays 4pm.  Tickets are $20-$40, and are available by phone (773.761.4477) or online through (check for half-price tickets at More information at time: 2 hours 45 minutes, includes an intermission)

Photos by Suzanne Plunkett 




Robert Kauzlaric (Sir Percival Glyde); Christopher M. Walsh (Count Fosco); Nicholas Bailey (Walter Hartright); Don Bender (Frederick Fairlie, Mr. Catherick, Clerk); Lucy Carapetyan (Marian Halcombe); Anita Deely (Eleanor Fosco, Mrs. Clements); Loretta Rezos (Jane Catherick, Mrs. Michelson, Mrs. Vesey); Maggie Scrantom (Laura Fairlie, Anne Catherick); Greg Wenz (Professor Pesca, Louis); Marsha Harman, Andrew Marikis, Megan M. Storti (understudies)

behind the scenes

Elise Kauzlaric (director); Robert Kauzlaric (adaptor); Aly Renee Amidei (costumes); Alan Donahue (set, props); Kevin D. Gawley (lighting); Katie Adams (stage manager); Jessica Brown (specialty artwork); Jordan Kardasz (asst. lighting); Christopher Kriz (original music, sound design); Rebecca Munley (asst. director); Greg Poljacik (violence design); Maren Robinson (dramagurg); Joe Schermoly (tech director); Suzanne Plunkett (photos)


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Category: 2012 Reviews, Adaptation, Katy Walsh, Lifeline Theatre, New Work, World Premier

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