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‘The Heiress’ enchants & raises Little Theatre’s bar even higher

“The Heiress,” directed by Roseann Wilshere, is delighting Lakeside Little Theatre audiences and earning standing ovations each night. Written by Ruth and Augustus Goetz, the play – first staged in 1947 and subsequently made into a movie in 1949 – is based on the 1880 Henry James novel “Washington Square.”

Jayme Littlejohn’s portrayal of plain and shy heiress Catherine Sloper is sensitively drawn. As the plot unfolds there are sympathetic murmurs from the audience at her compelling performance.

Interaction between Catherine and Morris Townsend (Ken Yakiwchuk) ranges from teasing to passionate as it builds up to the denouement, holding the audience firmly captive throughout.  Yakiwchuk’s character oozes charm and duplicitousness in equal measure. This adds to the tension when Dr. Austin Sloper, Catherine’s tartarian Victorian father, played to perfection by Tony Wilshere, suggests Morris is only after her inheritance. It is hard to believe that this is only Wilshere’s second acting venture.

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