To most people, the name A.A. Milne is closely associated with an animated friendly bear who pals around with a pig, a donkey, and his human friend, Christopher. Although it is true that Winnie the Pooh is his most well-known creation, the British author also penned 18 plays and 3 novels over the course of his career. His work was produced on both sides of the Atlantic.
The Lucky One, which premiered on Broadway in 1922, is currently revived in a subtle, yet poignant production by the Mint Theater Company. The critically acclaimed troupe is known for dusting off never or rarely produced works from the past and sprucing them up in fanciful form. Unlucky for Milne, his drama was not favored by New Yorkers in the roaring twenties; It lasted for only 40 performances. Lucky for contemporary audiences, this slice of life piece has returned, bringing with it a great deal of reflection and food for thought.
The Farringdons are an aristocratic family who reside in a posh, British country home. Gerald (Robert David Grant) and his older brother, Bob (Ari Brand) are the only two sons of Sir James (Wynn Harmon) and Lady Farringdon (Deanne Lorette). Gerald is the dashing and incredibly charming family jewel who will soon wed Pamela Carey (Patron Ashbrook). Meanwhile, forlorn and anxious Bob has found himself in a precarious financial situation after some shady business dealings at his investment firm. Other supporting characters, including great Aunt Farringdon (Cynthia Harris), the former family nurse (Peggy J. Scott), and other friends weave in and out of the story, offering gentle observations and opinion.
While Milne’s three act drama does not emanate taut, dramatic tension, it does offer a wonderfully human look at the complexities of sibling rivalry. For the most part, Director Jesse Marchese’s cast pulls off convincing British accents, thanks to dialect coach Amy Stoller. Vicki R. Davis has created an elegant set. However, there is little distinction of location change from Farringdon’s country estate to a Hotel on London’s Dover Street.
Still, works like this remind us why the Mint Theater is such a vital part of New York’s theatrical landscape. They neither rely on spectacle nor gimmicks, but instead, focus on quality stories, beautiful language, and actual person to person communication-rare values in our current age of soundbites, snapchat, and Instagram.
The Lucky One is now playing through June 25th at the Beckett Theatre on Theatre Row (410 West 42nd Street between 9th and 10th). For tickets, visit the box office or click here.