My Wonderful Day

by Alan Ayckbourn
directed by Richard Hamburger
May 18, 2011June 19, 2011

My Wonderful Day at the Wilma Theater

Adults are funny creatures. We engage in behaviors that are completely self-destructive. We hurt people. We smoke, drink, use bad words. But strangely, we tend to modify our behavior when we know we’re being observed…especially by a kid. And so it goes with My Wonderful Day.

In Alan Ayckbourn’s witty comedy, Winnie – daughter of Anglo-Caribbean housekeeper Laverne (Opal Alladin) – skips school to join her mother while she cleans the home of wealthy British media professionals Kevin and Paula Tate. Skipping school, however, does not preclude her from completing her homework assignment which is writing an essay called “My Wonderful Day”. And so she sets to work dutifully scribbling down all of her reflections about the Tate household for the duration of the time that she spends there.

Unfortunately this is bad news for the carnival of stars passing through because none of their questionable antics escape young Winnie’s pen. Among them you meet Kevin Tate (David Andrew Macdonald), the ill-tempered and grumpy head of the house; Tiffany (Kelly O’Sullivan), his young, blonde, playful mistress; Josh (John Zak), Kevin’s crude and brusque friend and business associate; and Paula (Kate Eastwood Norris), the formidable and high-spirited Mrs. Tate.

Of course the entire production rests on the shoulders of Lavita Shaurice, who does an excellent job of playing Winnie as she keeps tabs on the Tate household in a state of perpetual wide-eyed disbelief. But the whole cast does an amazing job sparring with one another while the story unfolds, and the audience will come to feel strong empathy toward each character when glimpses of their genuine person are revealed as they each unwittingly confide in one precocious little girl.

Standout performance of the show goes to Norris who fills up the entire stage every time she walks onto it. By contrast, however, poor Zak’s Josh feels almost like he doesn’t have enough to do. Otherwise, the pace of the show is absolutely perfect. Director Richard Hamburger makes every second of the show’s 90 minute running time count. And the audience will be undoubtedly impressed by the smart set design which rotates to showcase each room of the Tate house and keeps the action as fluid as the dialogue.

Definitely make time to see this production of Ayckbourn’s play. You’re guaranteed to have several priceless laughs. And along the way, you’ll learn something insightful about the way we treat each other in our stupidly adult world, and how we probably should treat each other if we thought we were being watched all the time by the impressionable and innocent eyes of children.

My Wonderful Day runs at the Wilma until June 19, 2011.

The Wilma Theater is located at 265 South Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107. Tickets can be purchased online or by calling the box office at (215) 893-9456.