ALRIGHT THEN/by Orson Bean and Alley Mills/directed by Guillermo Cienfuegos/Pacific Resident Theatre/thru March 25, 2018
The world premiere of ALRIGHT THEN presents a sweet stroll down memory lane of married actors Orson Bean and Alley Mills. The two separate childhood stories of Bean and Mills, through their life together to the present, make up the eighty-minute one-act. Quite a lot to cover in just eighty minutes, which inexplicably include moments of TMI. These BWW Review: ALRIGHT THEN Says It All About Bean & Millsmoments, though adding to the dramatics, aren’t totally essential to the drama.
Bean and Mills’ real-life relationship translates well onstage as their ease and intimate rapport kept their narratives genuine and endearing. Theirs include easy give-and-takes, overlapping of lines, flowing responses and loving gestures and looks. They act like a couple who’s been together for over 24 years because they really are.
While both Bean and Mills ably handle the heavy dramatics of their respective defining childhood incidents, Bean seems much more alive and comfortable name-dropping fun incidents with Raul Julia, Barbra Streisand, Henry Fonda and Gene Kelly. A most natural story-teller, hard to distinguish when Bean ad libs off script or is actually reciting his (and BWW Review: ALRIGHT THEN Says It All About Bean & MillsMills) written words. Bean’s stand-alone jokes sprinkled sparingly throughout remind of what made his younger-days stand-up so successful.
Guillermo Cienfuegos directs this charismatic couple at a smooth, steady pace with whatever conflicts all ending in sweetness (and song). How generous of Pacific Resident Theatre to give set design credit to Cienfuegos and David Mauer for the RHINOCEROS set that ALRIGHT THEN currently uses. How clever of Bean to immediately address this detail with his intro song in French (as homage to the French cafe set from RHINOCEROS).