Noah Haidle’s Mr. Marmalade offers up a clever concept, but it takes true talent to pull it all off. The premise features a 4-year-old girl with an adult imaginary friend who has a long list of unusually adult personality defects. One might not expect this comedy to be substantial enough to carry a feature-length play, but Haidle manages to create powerful, complicated personalities while exploring the depths of human interaction.
In another one-week-only, here-and-gone production, UW-Milwaukee Theatre launched a staging of Haidle’s comedy that was one of the funniest shows in the city this season. Director Angela Fingard’s first feature show took full advantage of the great script, cleverly juggling the comedy with terrific pacing and fluidity.
Liz Faraglia performed the female lead with precise emotional charm. In playing the comically sophisticated 4-year-old named Lucy, Faraglia in no way limited the performance to the superficial. She enchanted as a girl with the innocence of a child and the wisdom and emotional depth of an adult. It’s a real challenge to portray this type of character, but Faraglia made it look easy.
Willy Jonas played the title character with a careful, steady approach. Mr. Marmalade is imaginary, but he has very down-to-earth flaws. Jonas kept the character’s surreal essence quite believable.
UWM Theatre’s next one-week-only show is Anton Chekhov’s Three Sisters, running May 2-6 at the university’s Mainstage Theatre. For ticket reservations, call 414-229-4308.