|Washington Irving's "The Legend of Sleep Hollow"
Presented by New Hampshire Radio Theatre adapted by Kevin Flynn
Director: Scott Severance
|New Hampshire Radio Theatre has produced a smooth, professional original
adaptation of Washington Irving's "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow," recorded
live. The sound quality is excellent (except for a spate of plosives early
in the program), and the acting is good, especially on the part of Alan Dary
(who, as "Brom Bones," made the best comic use of his lines of anyone in the
company) and Bonnie McCann (who made a waspish "Katrina van Tassle"). Music
is confined mostly to transitions through the first half of the program, but
comes in under the action in the second half to support the action and
actors well. Jordan Terrill-Wysocki's fiddling was especially effective in
setting the scene for the party at the van Tassle farmhouse on the night of
Ichabod Crane's fatal meeting with the Horseman.
Sound effects were generally good, but suffered in producing animal noises -- galloping horses, lowing cattle, hooting owls -- that are important in any play with a rural setting. On the other hand, the property damage caused to the van Tassles' household goods by Ichabod Crane's "dancing" was excruciatingly detailed.
My major reservation is with the script. Fleshing out Washington Irving's short story to an hour-plus calls for a certain amount of invention, and most of Kevin Flynn's additions work well (especially a back-and-forth of dubious, semi-occult cures among the farm wives in one scene).
At a few other places, though, modern references -- a rock music joke, one playing off the titles of TV soap operas, and a jab at G.W. Bush -- were used to get a quick laugh out of the audience. They jar, and -- worse -- they distract from Irving's story.
Possibly NHRT felt "Sleepy Hollow" was overly familiar to a modern audience, and needed some innovative "punching up" to keep the listeners interested. I think there is plenty of humor left within the original story, if the adapter can just bring it out.
A good production, enjoyable to listen to, from a script that could have been just a tad better.
Ron N. Butler
[Ron N. Butler is an actor and writer for the Atlanta Radio Theater Company, and has no qualifications as an audio reviewer, save a boundless regard for his own opinions.]
Editors Note: While I realize that this was a live production, we all must become far more sensitive to our presentation faults and strive to eliminate them when ever possible. If not in the performance, then certainly work should be done before release to fix as much as possible. HH
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