Reviewed by Sally Putnam
Rob Croser‘s adaptation of the novel by Booth Turkington follows the Amberson family as their fortunes diminish due to arrogance in their belief that they are immune to the effect of new ideas.
The costumes, lighting, sound and set all meet the usual high standards of Independent Theatre. The cast gives a polished performance and move into carefully choreographed positions and comment in the tradition of the Greek chorus on characters and events.
Shona Benson as Isabel Amberson Minafer is the epitome of the American Aristocracy at the beginning of the twentieth century. Bronwyn Ruciak as Aunt Fanny produced the most interesting character with the greatest range of emotions and physicality. Tracey Walker demonstrated her ability to play a range of roles and Alicia Zorkovic made a delightful Lucy.
Independent regulars David Roach, Tom Carney and Allen Munn produced consistently good performances. Domenic Pannuccio as Eugene Morgan came across as a nice man but lacked the energy of the entrepreneur he was playing. William Cox as the over-indulged and shallow inheritor of the Amberson’s fortunes, George Amberson Minafer, needed to portray a stronger sense of entitlement.
The sense that this was an exciting world changing point in history was hinted at but ultimately the play lacked cut and thrust, excitement, rivalry, jealousy and most importantly drama! The audience was told rather than shown the story and in the end The Magnificent Ambersons is best described as a moved narration.