by Theresa Rebeck
Directed by Richard Cornally
New Theatre until July 29
Reviewed by Ron Lee, CSP
Two half-sisters in New York City inherit a stamp collection that includes the 1847 Mauritius one penny and two penny “Post Office” stamps and the 1918 “Inverted Jenny” that are worth millions of dollars.
So what happens next?
Which of the sisters actually owns them?
Can they readily sell the stamps?
Do they want to sell them?
Are the stamps real or are they fakes?
Jackie, the younger of the two, walks into a collectors’ shop, and the bearded Phil the philatelist, in a tweed jacket sans elbow patches, is bored with the people who walk in with their mostly worthless stamps and he ignores Jackie. However, Dennis the opportunist, who hangs out in the shop, is interested in what Jackie has, just in case there is something of value.
If Phil isn’t interested, who would be?
Enter from the deep south, Sterling, a businessman who has obtained his wealth through questionable means. His cheap suit belies his reputed substantial resources, yet he is an avid stamp collector and he must have those thin pieces of paper. Can Dennis facilitate a deal?
Producers Richard Cornally and Kitty Hopwood have chosen Theresa Rebeck’s excellent work to showcase their artistic skills.
Cornally directed and Hopwood plays the lead role of Jackie. Highlights of this production, for me, are the scenes involving Hopwood, Emma Louise as Mary and Peter-William Jamieson as the would-be mover and shaker, Dennis. It’s always gratifying to witness actors using The Method to great effect. Jamieson manages to maintain total presence during the intensity of the interactions the sisters and with Sterling (Brett Heath) and Philip (Andy Simpson).
Mauritius at the New Theatre in Newtown is only on for a couple of weeks, so you’ll need to book soon. You will be intrigued, engaged and entertained.