This is the second time I’ve seen The Manor: Murder and Madness at Greystone and it is still an absolutely thrilling, beautifully done play that takes place at the magnificent Greystone Manor in Beverly Hills.
The play is now in its sixteenth year has surpassed its 200th performance in 2014 and it’s obvious why. Everything about it, from the excellent performances by the actors to the gorgeous surroundings and the intriguing story, is just outstanding. The Manor takes place eighty years ago and it’s based on events that actually took place, but the names have been changed to protect the guilty.
During the play, the audience members are led from room to room in the exquisitely restored Greystone Mansion. It’s in these various rooms that the audience is shown different scenes that lead up to the shocking ending, which I won’t give away.
The Manor written by Kathrine Bates and directed by Martin Thompson depicts the momentous changes in the fortunes of the fabulously wealthy MacAlister Family (fictional surrogates of the oil-rich Doheny Family).
The family patriarch and mining tycoon Charles (the excellent Darby Hinton) makes an illegal if well-intentioned loan to Senator Alfred Winston (the perfectly slimy Daniel Leslie) which leads to their disgrace and involvement in the oncoming Teapot Dome Bribery scandal, which will engulf the Warren Harding administration.
The rest of the cast including Marion MacAlister (Carol Potter), Sean MacAlister (Sol Mason), Abby MacAlister (Annalee Scott), Henrietta Havesham Pugh (Kira Brannlund), Cora Winston (Melanie MacQueen), James, the Butler (Daniel Lench), Ursula,the Housekeeper (Katherine Henryk and Ellie the mute Maid (Esther Richman) give pitch-perfect performances.
Unfortunately, at the performance I attended, Mikel Parraga-Wills (Gregory Pugh) gave a very disconnected, over-the-top performance that continually took me out of the play. Hopefully, he has worked on his performance and has fixed his acting choices which totally did not work. Other than that, this is an incredible theatrical experience which I highly recommend.
The Manor’s remaining performances are 6 p.m. on Jan. 31, Feb. 1 – 2, with weekend matinees at 1 p.m. on Jan. 27 and Feb. 4. Admission is $65.00. For tickets call 310-364-3606 or go online at www.theatre40.org.
Greystone Manor is located at 895 Loma Vista Drive right above Sunset Blvd in Beverly Hills 902190.
Read our other coverage of The Manor.