While the entire cast of John Patrick's "The Curious Savage," on stage at the Granite through June 16, deserves a hearty round of applause, as does Jude Pescatello for his excellent direction of the heartwarming comedy — there is one actor who should be singled out for her extraordinary performance — and she's the one with the fewest lines.
Mandy Solis gives the performance of a lifetime as Miss Paddy, the near-mute, seemingly-addled painter who sticks mostly to her easel as a resident of The Cloisters, a country-clubbish psychiatric sanitarium located somewhere in Massachusetts, where she lives with an assortment of fabulous characters.
Solis simply steals the show.
With her facial contortions and foot shuffling, Solis had the Saturday night audience in stitches from the moment Miss Paddy walked on stage, and was able to maintain the momentum throughout. Mostly a background character with a habit of turning the light switch on and off, Miss Paddy speaks sparingly ... and mostly when she wants to list her dislikes. ("I hate lightning, skunk cabbage, custard, mustard, spiders and blisters ...") But her role is key as are her lines.
The play's actions center around an elderly widow Ethel Savage (Beth Jepson is perfectly cast) whose three Savage step-children; Titus (John Cillino is also ideal for this role,) Samuel (Larry Warner, in his Granite debut) and Lily Belle (Deanna Delaney, as the beautiful but spoiled rotten jet-setter is very good) who are desperately trying to reclaim their late father's $10 million fortune by placing her in The Cloisters and proving she's not in her right mind.
It is while living in the Cloisters, however, that Mrs. Savage comes to understand the meaning of true friendship and love while developing a fondness for her fellow "inmates;" Hannibal (John Andriso is a dear,) Florence (Darla Allen plucks at the heartstrings) Fairy May (company regular Michelle Mania is outstanding and also very funny) and Jeffrey (Marc Vakassian is wonderful as the handsome pilot whose plane was shot down during WWII.)
Miss Willie (Erika Lund in her Granite debut is a great new talent) and Dr. Emmett (Paula Glen gives another fine performance) serve as trusty anchors and bookends. Five-year-old Jonathan Delaney will break your heart.
"The Curious Savage" is a little gem of a play with some sweet, sentimental surprises.