October 9, 2015
Theatre Review: Miss Buncle's Book ****
It is 1930s England, a small town full of colorful characters, and the townspeople have discovered a book written by someone named John Smith, a thinly disguised exposé of their town and each one of them.They are outraged as they realize this 'John Smith' is a traitor in their midst so they set out to find out who it is, never considering the unassuming and mousy Miss Buncle (Jennifer Tyler).
She wrote it, she tells her publisher, "To make money," so we know this is a fantasy, but lo and behold! it becomes a runaway best-seller (another fantasy!) because the townsfolk read it and talk about it and soon everyone's reading it and talking about it.
The rest of the play is about the transformation of some of the townspeople after learning about themselves through someone else's eyes, not least of whom is Miss Buncle herself.
The play would have benefited from a little more subtle direction, in my opinion. Some of the characters are a little campy for my taste, but Jennifer Tyler as Miss Buncle gives a wonderfully understated and engaging performance, her face telling as much of the story as her words.
All in all this is a well-done and clever presentation.
Four out of five stars for Miss Buncle's Book at Lifeline Theatre.