Reviews

33 Variations

33 Variations - Clara kissing Katherine

“All aspects here are pitch perfect.”

“This is a marvelous production in so many ways, most notably its staging and the performances of a veteran cast that infuses these stories with power and poignancy, humor and humanness.

…As Clara, Arnell mimics her mother’s toughness, but also zeroes in on her character’s vulnerabilities. Haubner treats Clara with a gentleness that softens her hard-shelled character and makes their relationship most appealing.

This show has so many pieces that need to fit perfectly, or the whole story and effect could go out of tune. All aspects here are pitch perfect.” (Waukesha Now)

“The play encompasses such high-flown topics as the minutiae of historical music theory and the destruction of the body, while keeping room for humor and love. Ruth Arnell and Nicholas Callan Haubner provide moments of well-earned laughter as their characters progress from a shy romance to one of the most touching, practical examples of love.

…this play is like a piece of music coming to life with all the humor, sex and humanity that inspired it. 33 Variations is a not-to-be-missed element of Waukesha Civic Theatre’s current season.” (Shepherd Express)

Crimes of the Heart

Daniels, Kosek, Arnell

“…the chemistry among the three Magrath sisters was amazing…”

“Ruth Arnell is captivating as the middle sister, Meg, a shrewd, tough woman whose failed singing career in California has left her life in limbo. …the authentic dialogue and intimate rapport between the three actresses serves the production well.” (Shepherd Express)

“…the chemistry among the three Magrath sisters was amazing. … Arnell’s Meg is a ball of fire. Loud and opinionated, with a quick fuse, she is nonetheless completely dedicated to her sisters.” (Waukesha Now)

“… Ruth Arnell is the standout in a very fine cast. Her body language is especially powerful in revealing her flamboyance, which hides some deep sadness.” (Waukesha Freeman)

Butterflies Are Free

Butterflies are Free, Ruth Arnell, Ryan Dance

“Arnell… is overwhelmingly magnetic…”

“There is only one good reason for a theater company… to produce the 39-year-old comedy Butterflies Are Free. The troupe has an actress who is a sure fit for the play’s pivotal character, a cute and quirky 19-year-old divorcée who enchants and infuriates an audience. Spiral Theatre has the performer in Ruth Arnell, and she wins and breaks our hearts with disarming ease. … The passage of decades … places added responsibility to connect with contemporary audiences on the actress playing Jill. If she can make us fall in love with her a little, she bridges the gap. Arnell does exactly that, and when the character’s behavior shifts, the actress effectively reflects her self-centered immaturity.” (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

“Towards the end of last February, Spiral Theatre staged the single best romance of the year with Ruth Arnell and Ryan Dance in Butterflies Are Free…” (Shepherd Express: Year In Review)

“Arnell, recently featured in relatively flimsy roles (“The Girl” in Sunset Playhouse’s The Seven Year Itch and similar roles in a couple of different bedroom farces), is overwhelmingly magnetic and captures her role with depth. She conveys Jill’s idiosyncrasies with a casual, lived-in charm that never feels forced. Her performance is so believable that it’s actually kind of exhilarating to watch her character fall in love. There’s a familiar sense of excitement about that particular conversation that brings two strangers together, and this pair brings that excitement to the stage with vivid precision.” (Vital Source)

“Spiral Theatre’s Butterflies Are Free elucidated the stereotypes we have regarding the handicapped. Sometimes the sighted are more blind than the blind.” (Waukesha Freeman: Best of The Year)

Talley’s Folly

Matt and Sally in the boat

“Arnell’s voice… adds depth to an already very nuanced performance…”

Express Milwaukee loved Arnell’s “very nuanced performance” in SummerStage of Delafield’s “emotionally entrancing” outdoor production of Lanford Wilson’s romantic drama, Talley’s Folly.

“It’s a very delicate dynamic between these two characters. [Phil] Stepanski does a really good job of making an audience like the man he’s playing. If the woman he feels such charming affection for comes across as being too heartless towards him at the beginning of the play, she seems kind of sinister. Thankfully, Arnell brings an exhausted compassion to the role that keeps her end of the performance remarkably appealing.” (Express Milwaukee)

Carmen

"All the Sex & Murder - None of the Singing!"

“All the Sex & Murder – None of the Singing!”

“In a clever performance, Ruth Arnell plays the beautiful ingénue Mosey Wells, a character written to be an exceptionally bad actress, but also exceptionally sweet. There’s an art to deliberately acting poorly for comic effect, and Arnell executes it brilliantly.” (Shepherd Express)

“Arnell is brilliantly comic in the role, giving the character real heart that not only keeps the comedy of a bad actress from ever getting stale, but also manages to add to the appeal of a mismatched cast of vintage radio actors desperately trying to get through a non-musical radio adaptation of Puccini’s classic opera. Arnell cleverly tackles the task of making a bad actress seem appealing by adding in subtle, little details that give one the impression that the character is really putting forth an effort and takes pride in her work, but simply has no clue as to how to bring a decent performance to the stage. It’s a fun performance. Towards the end of the play, though the story is far from over, Wells utters her last line, turns to the audience, and bows a bit nervously before taking her seat. It’s a very charming performance.” (Shepherd Express)

Wait Until Dark

“… Press and Arnell have a palpable chemistry together that establishes itself early … In the role of the heroine, Arnell is probably onstage for longer than any other person. Arnell carries the center of the play with casual, well-executed grace. …Arnell does a breathtaking job of grounding the production in a very sympathetic emotional center. …” (Shepherd Express)

“Ruth Arnell is quite believable as the harried but shrewd Susy. It is hard for the sighted to imagine and credibly convey blindness, so credit is due here. …[She] deserves the acting award for this show.” (Waukesha Freeman)

6 Degrees of Separation

“Under the solid, well-paced direction of Jim Farrell, the 15-member cast succeeds… in creating entertainment that is part real and part fiction, keeping the audience engaged… [S]tandouts include the young naive couple from Utah, Elizabeth (Ruth Arnell) and Rick (Nate Press), whose encounter with the con man brings about unexpected tragedy.” (Shepherd Express)

“[S]tandouts in the cast include Ruth Arnell as Elizabeth… Well-directed by Jim Farrell, if you like a piece that challenges you a bit, this might be the one. I think it was a brave choice for Sunset Playhouse.” (Waukesha Freeman)

Received the Sunset Playhouse Best Supporting Actress Award for this performance

The Philadelphia Story

“When she is onstage, Ms. Arnell is not an actor playing a character, she is a human representing another human – an accomplishment few actors ever attain, and rarely at her age.” (Ben Parman)

“Tracy, well portrayed by the ever-reliable Ruth Arnell, a headstrong woman who is adored for her beauty… is restless and unfulfilled. … the three main characters – Tracy, Connor, and Dexter – are clearly delineated by the aforementioned Arnell, Mark Neufang and Will Elwood. … The scene when Tracy and her three suitors all collide is one of the best moments in the play…” (Waukesha Freeman)

Noises Off

“This exuberant and fast paced farce requires the ablest of actor bodies for as it is intense physical comedy, along with synchronized timing to complete in rapid succession while appearing effortless. Each member of the cast successfully provides this… Ruth Arnell (Brooke Ashton) pertly gives her character, both the ‘on’ and ‘off’ stage persona, a delightful pout.” (Vital Source)

“The Sunset Players juggle the characters in the farce with the no less farcical actors who play them: the personal flaws that feed into an infernal Rube Goldberg machine of doors, staircases, vases, flowers, a cactus, and several plates of sardines… Yet the cast plays out the comedy with precision timing and madcap grace, expertly handling the dizzying shifts between actors and characters.” (Jeff Grygny)

 

Twelfth Night

“Each of the main actors puts a distinctive stamp on his or her character… [like] Arnell’s devious wisecracking Maria [who] proves up to the challenges of Shakespeare.” (Waukesha Now)

“Twelfth Night is on the boards as I write, and it is worth your patronage. …Ruth Arnell as Maria and Mark Neufang as Malvolio stand out above the rest in making The Bard’s words very accessible.” (Waukesha Freeman)

These Shining Lives

“…the absence of the trappings of a full staging only collapses the distance between these characters and us; Marnich’s words and the actors’ skills hit home with devastating force. …Ruth Arnell brings personality to the perkiest of the factory girls…” (Express Milwaukee)

It’s A Wonderful Life

“The romantic match-up between Anderson and Arnell works exceedingly well. The role isn’t that much of a challenge for Arnell—an actress who has proven capable of some considerable range in the past. The role of Mary doesn’t give Arnell much of a challenge beyond being Bailey’s love interest and, later, the mother of his children—but to her credit, Arnell doesn’t try to embellish anything into the role that isn’t already there. The subtlety of a very delicate romantic chemistry comes across quite vividly—something Arnell had shown stunning talent for in an intimate production of Butterflies Are Free… with Spiral Theatre.” (Shepherd Express)

“…Arnell [captures] the loving optimism and brightness of Mary…” (Waukesha Freeman)

Jake’s Women

“… Ruth Arnell rounds out the cast as a young woman named Sheila. …We see [Jake] speak with her while his mind is casually falling apart. It develops into a cleverly written dialogue between Jake, Sheila and Jake’s uncontrolled imaginary interruptions by Maggie. It’s an almost musical bit of three-part comedy. Arnell (who appeared as the female lead in Sunset’s production of The Seven Year Itch last season) is an excellent comic beauty, almost flawlessly performing her part in the three-person interaction.” (Vital Source)

Whose Wives Are They Anyway?

“[M]aking a notable appearance is Ruth Arnell as Tina… Tina spends a good portion of the play drunk. The impressive thing here is that Arnell is both funny and convincing as a stage drunk. Her bubbly intoxication and Patten’s instincts make this a production worth seeing.” (Shepherd Express)

“[An]other character who contributes to the hilarity [is] Ruth Arnell as Tina, the beautiful but slightly ditzy blond clerk, whose drunk scene is superbly executed…” (Waukesha Freeman)

Don’t Dress for Dinner

“Ruth Arnell as Bernard’s mistress seems to have quite a bit of experience with infidelity and is pretty nonchalant about the whole mess except when she is expected to play cook. She knows exactly how to get what she wants from whoever is willing to dole it out.” (Waukesha Freeman)

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