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Review: 'A Picture of Autumn' is bitersweet

Published on NewsOK Modified: June 10, 2013 at 7:37 pm •  Published: June 10, 2013

NEW YORK (AP) — Even if you don't actually embrace change, it's wise to at least attempt to adapt.

The perils of ignoring the post-World War II social revolution in England are gently lampooned in "A Picture of Autumn," N.C. Hunter's bittersweet 1951 portrait of an out-of-date family of aristocrats.

The Mint Theater's engaging revival of the drawing-room comedy gets livelier as it progresses. Under the sure hand of Gus Kaikkonen, the accomplished cast keeps the period feel while injecting spirit and humor whenever possible.

Three older members of the Denham family lead a sleepy, isolated life in their once-stately rural home, which has fallen into disrepair since the disappearance of cheap labor. Hunter was considered an "English Chekhov" when this play premiered, so the Denhams yearn for better, bygone days, and when members of the younger generation arrive for a visit, their regrets and futile longings are revealed as well.

George Morfogen is great fun to watch in his expert portrayal of Harry Denham, the very definition of a slightly mad uncle. An 81-year-old crank with a blithe disregard for reality, Harry seems a perfect match for the faded grandeur of the 16th-century estate. Doddering around with perfect timing, Morfogen delivers Harry's sarcasm with expressions ranging from baleful to wistful.

Unable to afford servants, poor Lady Margaret (a lovely portrait of genteel resignation by Jill Tanner) is exhausted from doing all the housework herself. Her only help comes from the dotty, elderly family nurse, (an impish Barbara Eda-Young), whose character is a quirky parody of a loyal family retainer.

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