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The Country Girl
Review by Paul B. Cohen, LA Weekly

A late entry in Odets’ canon, The Country Girl uses the medium of theater, and the central figure of a failing actor, as a lens to view a disintegrated marriage. Odets’ best work it is not — despite New York Times critic Brooks Atkinson’s claim to the contrary — but the Colony Studio Theatre’s sturdy production wrings out a satisfying level of drama. When hotshot young producer Bernie Dodd (a steely Gil Bernardy) offers a lifeline lead role to aging thespian Frank Elgin (Robert Budaska), overriding the objections of money man Phil Cook (Kurt A. Boesen), Elgin’s long-suffering wife, Georgie (Melissa Hanson), urges him to accept the part. What follows are Elgin’s struggles — not only with learning his lines, his own self-confidence and repairing his connection to Georgie, but with the temptations of the bottle. Using the set designed for the Theatre’s currently running production of June Moon, Tim O’Hare’s unhurried direction does test one’s patience. Act 2 is surprisingly enthralling, however, primarily because of Budaska’s compelling delineation of his lush character, allied by Bernardy and Hanson’s gritty support.

Copyright 1999, LA Weekly
Reprinted by permission
The Country Girl at the Colony Theatre