REVIEW: "Heaven Sent" Is Heart-Warming
Robinson, Sorrells and Merck steal the show.
Filled with humor, honesty and compassion, the story of "Heaven Sent" is heart-warming.
Sunday 3 p.m. performance is the last day to catch the show at Easley Foothills Playhouse.
"Heaven Sent" is based very, very loosely on George Eliot's 1861 novel, "Silas Marner." Set in Raveloe County, Kentucky, during the American Great Depression, "Heaven Sent," is the story of a young girl named Eppie, abandoned as a baby, who wins the heart of a recluse Samuel Langley, who concocts medicinal potions that he sells not to earn a living, but to build his only obsession in life — a sack of coins. Langley begins to see the beauty in life, while caring for the needs of a growing young girl, who appeared at his door in the middle of the night.
The casting for this production was spot on. Sabrina Robinson, Josie Merck and Tommy Sorrells steal the show.
Robinson's character, a drunken woman named Molly Stark, is a fiery vibrant lady ready to keep her mouth shut, as long as the money keeps flowing in, or at least until she goes on a drunken binge. Selfish, maybe? But she did have a baby with one of the richest men in town. Robinson delivers a stellar performance drawing laughter from the crowd with her "unladylike" attitude and demeanor.
Josie Merck, who plays Baby Eppie, the daughter of town drunk Molly Stark and Del Cass, loves the stage and you can tell it. While not a seasoned veteran, Merck, a 10-year-old student at Liberty Elementary, may have her work cut out for her when it comes to Samuel Langley, she will win your heart in the first 10 minutes she's on stage. Her performance is sincere and heartfelt. She nails her lines like a pro.
Tommy Sorrells, who plays the bitter recluse Samuel Langley, comes full circle in this play. A man who has been cheated, lost his only family and struggled with epilepsy for years, finally realizes that money isn't important and that it is love that brings the biggest joys in life. Sorrells performance is sincere, yet humorous at time, as he struggles to raise a little girl who was dropped on his doorstep. You'll find a soft spot in your heart for Sorrells, who brings a gentle touch to the curmudgeonly old miser.
Another favorite in the show Lisa Burns, who plays the pious Audrey Winthrop. Mrs. Winthrop, who doesn't like to stick her nose in other people's business, does just enough nosing around to make sure Baby Eppie isn't neglected. Burns makes Winthrop into a likeable character, who'll make you laugh as she tries to bring Langley back into the covenant of the church.
The story, under the direction of Jimmy O. Burdette, is well told. Burdette's directing is superb. The characters in this show feel like real, flesh and blood people. The only criticism one may find is that at times the volume of the characters is too low and Samuel's "seizures" are not convincing.
Don't miss it, as this show will warm your heart and put a smile on your face.