Meet me for Tea At Five

By Shari Horowitz

The Daily Targum

November 30, 2004

HARTFORD, Conn. - Kate Mulgrew, always a brilliant actress, does not disappoint in her current endeavor, the theatrical production of Tea At Five. Written about the secretive and private life of Katherine Hepburn, Mulgrew's solo performance enlightens the audience to Hepburn's personal life, confirming some rumors and adding new stories.

The first act, set in 1938 when Hepburn was a young woman, shows the actress waiting impatiently to hear if she has gotten the part of Scarlet O'Hara. With a tropical storm raging outside the Fenwick apartment, Hepburn discusses her travails as an actress, and why a series of flops after a hit can still get one blacklisted in Hollywood.

In the second act, set in 1983, Hepburn is older, less arrogant, and more reflective. Warren Beatty is trying to convince her to do one more show, but Hepburn is, at best, unsure. She has a broken ankle from a car accident that she caused, and is suffering from Parkinson's, even if she won't admit to it. During her discourse with the audience, Hepburn reveals secrets that one could never dream of, and certainly keeps the listeners on their feet.

At one point, Hepburn discusses the importance of detail, and how it is lost in "modern" society. Well, Mulgrew certainly paid attention to every last detail, from the hair and the clothing, to the gestures and the accent; from a full cast to an authentic Hartford Current from 1938 all details are accounted for. The audience truly feels as if they are sitting in Fenwick, discussing Hepburn's life with the actress; especially with such perfect uses of sarcasm and sharp wit.

Tea At Five earns five gold stars if that is all I am allowed to give it. The acting is amazing and the stage design beautiful. The script maintained the perfect balance between comedy and drama. This performance is an absolute must see for anyone, not just Hepburn or Mulgrew fans.