‘Born Yesterday’ still charming

By John Berger
Special to the Star-Bulletin

CAN a three-act nonmusical political comedy from the mid-1940s charm contemporary cynics? Diamond Head Theatre's revival of "Born Yesterday" does!

Director Clarke Evans wisely resisted the temptation to cut, update or localize the story. Evans' astute direction and inspired performances make a marvelous show.

The story is a sugar-coated civics lesson about how the American political system is supposed to work. Abrasive self-made multi-millionaire Harry Brock (David Kleist) goes to Washington, D.C., to put together a semi-legal scheme to corner the scrap metal market. When corrupt lawyer Ed Devery (Richard Pellett) warns Brock that his ex-showgirl mistress, Billie (Stefanie Smart), could be a social liability, Brock hires an idealistic liberal reporter (Guy DeConte) to "show her the ropes." Unfortunately for Brock, the reporter's idealism rubs off on Billie.

Smart is brilliant; she will certainly be a Po'okela contender. Kleist and Pellett are excellent and DeConte is engaging. Dean Turner as a business-as-usual politician and Jim A.O. Cone as Brock's dim-bulb flunky are well worth watching.

Paul Guncheon (set design) and Sukey Dickinson (costumes) contribute further to the sense of time and place.

Stage review

What: "Born Yesterday"
When: 8 p.m. Thursdays to Saturdays and 4 p.m. Sundays, through Nov. 17.
Where: Diamond Head Theatre
Cost: $10 to $40
Call: 734--0274

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