Written by Zack Johnston
The Westminster Community Theatre’s humble production of Sabrina Fair finds itself at the crossroads of unfortunately underplayed and surprisingly charming.
After spending five years of her young adult life in Paris, Sabrina Fairchild returns home to her father, a chauffeur to the wealthy Larrabee family living on the North Shore of Long Island in the mid-1950s. After discovering that Sabrina’s life in Europe has made her an eccentric and worldly young woman, her relationship with her father and the Larrabee family will be forever changed.
Sabrina Fair is a classic story of love, marriage, and finding one’s place in the world. Its pleasing and relatable themes must be matched by a developed and substantial performance, which is where this production, directed by Kirk Larson, falls somewhat short.
Fewer characters interact for a good portion of the performance, and more actors run through dialog and blocking. Still, the redeeming moments of the show are the ones that are filled with sincerity and tenderness.
The mother of the Larrabee family, Maude, is played by Marlee Candell. Candell’s performance initially comes off as rigid and underdeveloped. However, she has moments when she exudes sophistication and grace as a caring and poised mother.
Alison Mattiza plays Maude’s dear old friend, Julia, referred to as Aunt Julia by Maude’s two sons. Mattiza brings smoothness to her performance which brings out her humor and authenticity.
As Sabrina gets comfortable back home, her charismatic attitude draws the attention of the Larrabee’s youngest son David, played by Scott T. Finn. Finn’s performance falls flat as his character pursues Sabrina. David may be soft-spoken, but the narrow range of emotion shown by Finn constricts his performance.
The elderly father of the Larrabee family, Linus Larrabee Sr., is played by John Francis. Linus is a character of authority, as well as humor. Although at times stumbling over his lines, Francis portrays the forgetful old man with excellent comedic timing and balances out his character with his domineering presence.
The vivacious Sabrina is played by Tiffany Berg, who brings to life Sabrina’s bubbly spirit and alluring demeanor. Whether Sabrina is reminiscing about her years in Paris or figuring out her future at home, Berg is alive and committed to her character.
The Larrabee’s eldest son, Linus Larrabee Jr., is played by Mike Martin, who brings a clever wit and charm to his character. The successful sailing enthusiast shares a spirited dynamic with Sabrina after knowing her for so long, and Martin and Berg create this dynamic through their energy and intimacy.
Despite its shortcomings, this production’s heartwarming message of love is one all can enjoy.
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