Dusty Chalk

The Chalk Garden

Caldwell's latest: Big on talent, short on engaging drama
Caldwell's latest: Big on talent, short on engaging drama

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Written by Enid Bagnold. Directed by Michael Hall. Starring Jacqueline Knapp, Marcus Weiss, Harriet Oser, Michelle Enfield, Joy Johnson, Marcia Mahon, Angie Radosh, Pat Nesbit, and John Felix.
Through December 19. Caldwell Theatre Company, 7873 N. Federal Hwy., Boca Raton, 561-241-7432.

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Alas, the dialogue isn't the only artificial component of The Chalk Garden. Although Bennett's set makes a luscious first impression, it, too, has a serious problem: Why is the sitting room full of healthy-looking flowers before Madrigal works her magic on the garden? These chlorophyll-laden props make it hard to believe that the garden and all it symbolizes need better tending. Nonetheless the Caldwell cast -- which also includes the deft John Felix as the Judge, Angie Radosh as the Nurse, and Harriet Oser and Joy Johnson as applicants competing for the governess job that eventually goes to Jacqueline Knapp's Miss Madrigal -- disports itself so elegantly that it should be in good shape when a better melodrama comes its way. Here's hoping the next revival is along the lines of An Inspector Calls, the 1946 chestnut that the company made relevant a few years ago with a fantastic stage design and a strong directorial vision. In the case of The Chalk Garden, why waste great talent on trivia?

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