`Voysey' full of scandals, short on shock
May 05, 2005|By J. Wynn Rousuck | J. Wynn Rousuck,SUN THEATER CRITIC
Eric Sheffer Stevens does a fine job portraying morally outraged Edward Voysey, who learns that his father - and grandfather before him - have systematically defrauded their clients and that he's expected to perpetuate the tradition. At the start of the play, Stevens' Edward appears to be in shock; he is bereft, sleep-deprived, heartbroken. As the play continues, Stevens depicts Edward as a man whose moral fiber is so thick, he wears it like a hair shirt.
In "Voysey," the story draws its tension from the steely determination of Trenchard's son, Edward (a fine Eric Sheffer Stevens), to expose his father's deceptions and repay the stolen money. The intriguing crux of Barker's play and Lewis's production is the shrewd juxtaposition of villain and hero: The father, as portrayed by John Ramsey, is witty and worldly and debonair, a wholly appealing scoundrel. "Why," he asks glibly, "is it so hard for a man to see beyond the letter of the law?"
As the son who wants to do right, meanwhile, Stevens is cold and blunt, a killjoy. The clients who are being stolen blind by the father adore him and despise Edward. The world, it seems, is often irritated by its martyrs.
The Voysey Inheritance
April 29 until June 5
Character: Edward Voysey
Playwright: Harley Granville Barker /
Director: Irene Lewis
Theatre company: Baltimore Center Stage
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