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Don Walker as Gardner Church and Jenny Aldrich as Fanny Church in the Banyan Theater Company's production of "Painting Churches." Photo by Gary Sweetman

Banyan offers solid drama in Sarasota

"Jenny Aldrich and Don Walker play Fanny and Gardner with charm, texture and delicacy. In their hands, the Churches have a tangible life before and after the action of the play; you almost want to call Fanny and Gardner the day after you see the play and ask how they're getting along.”

—Marty Clear, Bradenton Herald

“In the Banyan production, directed by Melliss Kenworthy, Aldrich and Walker feel physically right for their roles and, married in real life, obviously enjoy performing together. In a scene in Act II where the underlying tensions erupt as Fanny tries to pack up Gardner’s books and manuscript, the two make the emotions real and complex.”

—Kay Kipling, Sarasota Magazine

“As Fanny, Jenny Aldrich is entirely convincing: she’s smart and sassy and she’ll find a joke in the miasma of her married life if she possibly can. What’s particularly winning about Aldrich is how she transforms from a seemingly ditzy, self-absorbed woman to a real angel in the late scenes, devoted to helping her damaged husband. As that husband, Don Walker is wonderfully goofy: gentle, infatuated with poetry, and confused about everything except the call of another Dubonnet. Thanks to Walker’s able performance, we can easily believe that Gardner once hobnobbed with Robert Frost and Andre Malraux, but that now he can barely manage to carry a manuscript from room to room without some calamity.”

—Mark E. Leib, Creative Loafing

“Don Walker turns in such a realistic portrayal of the failing — but not a failure — Gardner that we want to keep track of his future. Jenny Aldrich’s Fanny and Olivia Williamson’s Mags both win our sympathy, as well as our satisfaction with their conclusion. We’re happy to wait to see if complaining gives way to the exit flourish Fanny’s coveted.”

—Marie Kilker,


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