AND NEITHER HAVE I WINGS TO FLY


Ann Noble’s heartwarming And Neither Have I Wings to Fly feels like a theater 
classic that’s been around forever.  Hard to believe it’s a fairly recent play 
which is only now getting its Southern California premiere, in an absolutely 
gorgeous production at the Road Theatre, directed by award winning Scott 
Cummins.

Like a classic Hollywood movie about good girl/bad girl sisters (think Olivia de 
Havilland and Bette Davis), And Neither Have I Wings to Fly introduces two 
polar opposite siblings. There’s the oh so serious Eveline (Noble), who’s wound 
as tightly as her pinned back red hair, and her flirtatious vixen of a sister 
Kathleen (Stephanie Stearns), engaged to one man but in the spell of another, 
and enjoying the attention.

We are introduced to Eveline and Kathleen Donnelly and their Da (Leon 
Russom) just two days after their mother’s funeral.  The sudden arrival of 
touring actor (and roué) Freddy (Mark Doerr), who drinks his whisky straight 
from the bottle, throws the Donnelly household into a spin.  Kathleen starts to 
wonder if fuddy-duddy fiancé Leo (Danny Vasquez) is really the right man for 
her, and Eveline finds herself falling under the spell of Charlie (Mark St. Amant), 
Leo’s ne’er-do-well rascal of a brother (“the one that ran away”).

Cummins, best known for helming violent, in-your-face fare like the recent Bug, 
proves himself here to be a master of character-based family drama, greatly 
aided by a couldn’t-be-better cast.

Noble’s Eveline seems at first to be a humorless curmudgeon, but we soon see 
in her an earthbound bird longing to spread her wings and fly. After devoting 
the past three years to caring for her terminally ill mother, she has now hidden 
an acceptance letter from a Dublin university inside one of her beloved books. 
Her quandary—should she stay with her widowed Da or take flight?

In Kathleen, Stearns (Miss Julie) has created an absolutely adorable bad girl. 
We first meet her as she struggles for the umpteenth time to read page 20 of 
her mother’s favorite novel, she who has probably never read a book in her 
life.  As an enrapt and enamored Kathleen listens wide-eyed and all-ears to 
actor Freddy’s Hamlet synopsis, she (and we the audience) come to realize 
that stodgy salt-of-the-earth Leo is not the man to get her mojo going, and 
that there’s trouble on the horizon.

Both Noble and Stearns are radiant perfection.

Vasquez and St. Amant likewise create memorable portraits of two very 
different brothers.  Vasquez’s Leo is such a good guy, we don’t want to see his 
heart broken, yet we know that life with him (at least for Kathleen) would be a 
deadly bore. St. Amant’s Charlie has the edge of danger about him, yet we 
see that he is also a decent fellow at heart. Doerr is a delight as full-of-himself 
Freddy, with his Hamlet soliloquy to impress the awestruck Kathleen a special 
treat. Broadway vet Russom does splendid work as their crusty old Da, serious 
on the surface but with a dry sense of humor.  Finally, there is the incandescent 
Taylor Gilbert as… Well, I won’t spoil the surprise.

The production is absolutely gorgeous to look at.  Desma Murphy has designed 
a carefully detailed Donnelly home resplendent in rich blues and browns, with 
authentic looking stone walls and fireplace, lit in warm golden hues by Henry 
Sume.  Gelareh Khalioun’s costumes fit each character to a T, and David B. 
Marling’s sound design and Lee Osteen II’s music greatly enhance the play’s 
Irishness. Dialect coach Linda de Vries has gotten mostly very authentic 
sounding accents from the cast.

And Neither Have I Wings to Fly is the best kind of family entertainment, one 
that you can take your kids to (ages 12 and up), but one that deals with real 
adult problems in a way that doesn’t play down to its grown up audience. 
Like a favorite movie you never tire of plopping into the DVD player, this 
marvelous production of Noble’s richly gratifying play is likely to prove among 
the Road’s most crowd-pleasing productions ever.

The Road Theatre Company,  5108 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood
www.roadtheatre.org

–Steven Stanley
September 14, 2007

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