|Paul Larson, Barbara Gilbert, Diane Tarleton, Robert Elston.|
On a spare, austere, yet atmospheric set, four actors and two folk-singer guitar players effectively brought back to life Charles Aidman’s two-act adaptation of Edgar Lee Masters’s 1915 anthology of folksy poems capsulizing the townspeople of Spoon River, Illinois, at the turn of the 20th century. Its first production had been on Broadway in 1963.
Produced Off Broadway with minimal means yet maximal expressiveness, the work vividly resuscitated the town’s residents, with each actor embodying a multitude of characters. One actor from the 1963 original, Robert Elston, was back for the revival. The others were Barbara Gilbert, Paul Larson, Diane Tarleton, Lori Hillman, and Ralph Penner. “Norman Rockwell with a welcome touch of bile,” was Clive Barnes’s approving summary of this Americana program. “It wears well.”