Best Local Stage Production on a Big Budget

"The Guardsman" at Cleveland Play House

The Cleveland Play House reheated this 90-year-old Hungarian pastry until it was sweet and savory. Ferenc Molnár's The Guardsman is one of those gossamer comedies where elegance of style is all. This insightful farce expounds upon the dilemma of an insecure actor who masquerades as a Russian guardsman to keep his wife's interest. He fancies he has bamboozled her, yet the delicious joke that has kept this radiant antique provocative is that he never knows for sure. The Play House production proved to be the best of all possible worlds. From Hungary's National Theatre, Hegyi Arpad Jutocsa directed with the diligence of a master craftsman. Longtime Cleveland favorite Andrew May walked an intoxicating line between boyish sex appeal and fey pomposity, and New York's Crista Moore shimmered like porcelain as a jazz-age Cinderella.