Best Theater Surprise - 2005
And what a felicitous surprise it was! Although Off Center is one of the area's many well-intentioned amateur groups, it's hardly a company for whose productions you cancel all other engagements. But their interpretation of Molière's seventeenth-century romp Scapin was one of the high points of the theater season. Molière's comedies are so overloaded with harsh masters and long-suffering servants, actors often think they have to go into overdrive to keep up with the laughs. But this staging by Joseph M. Roach took the opposite approach: cool as a frosty glass of lemonade. In the title role, John "Schmack" Virgin (a veteran of the NonProphets improv group) was in total command from beginning to end, yet he barely raised his voice. So we'll raise ours to cheer a delightful performance.