Gail Burns Reviews “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” by Class Act Productions at Russell Sage [Berkshire on Stage]
by Gail Burns. For the Berkshire-Capital region’s most comprehensive listing of theatre offerings visit GailSez.org
The Broadway season runs from September through May for one reason and one reason only: it was too hot to open or even run shows in New York City in the summer months in the days before air conditioning. Now shows run year round, but the official “season” is still confined to the cooler months. Here in the Berkshires its the reverse – the season runs from May to October with the highest level of activity occurring in July and August – and so smaller companies usually stay out of the rat race and present during the academic year.
Class Act Productions has tempted fate twice by opening a show in the summer in an unairconditioned house. Why??
The Schacht Fine Arts Center on the Russell Sage campus is an enormous, ugly theatre and way too big for CAP. The stage is too big for them to fill with sets or performers, and the house is too big for them to fill with ticket buyers. The heat is oppressive and turning the house lights off in an attempt to make it cooler only makes it depressingly dim and dingy.
Notice that I haven’t even mentioned the title of the show yet? That’s because it really doesn’t matter what you put up under those conditions, actors and audience alike are guaranteed to be miserable.
This is a real pity because “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” is a fun show and this is a decent amateur production. In the right house it could have really sparkled.