AudioFile Magazine RealTime Reviews:
A MAGICAL REALITY CHAUTAQUA SHOW: Telling Strange Tales
Read by Timothy Patrick Miller
[Editor’s Note: The following is a combined review with THE MAYPOLE OF THE MARYMOUNT.]–Timothy Patrick Miller’s calling his recording series American Listeners Theatre may cause one to think wrongly he’s presenting audio drama. More revealingly, he subtitles his readings of Ambrose Bierce A MAGICAL REALITY CHAUTAUQUA SHOW, suggesting not only the fantastic nature of his subject matter, but the bombast associated with the lecturers and readers of ye olde Chautauqua Circuit. Indeed, as exemplified here in a fine Hawthorne tales and two acclaimed Bierce chillers, he is worthy to share the dais with such spellbinders as Dickens, Bryant, and his old literary foe Twain. He has a sonorous, finely-tuned “instrument,” which he uses with masterly, expressive skill. To this he contributes a deep understanding of his texts and an ear for the euphony of great writing. Y.R. © AudioFile 2007, Portland, Maine
American Listeners Theatre, 2006 • 45 min. • Audio Program • Audio Theater
Praise for The Civil War Tales of Ambrose Bierce
“Miller’s voice easily evokes officer, soldier and Southern gentleman. Anyone who likes Civil War fiction should listen to this work.” – M.T.F., Audio File Magazine
” This book captures, in short, the niche in which audio most excels: great tales well-told, straight-to-audio collections from the American Listeners’ Theatre, an Austin company, are a bull’s eye for short-story purists, Civil War buffs and historians.” – By Joe Stafford,
Austin American Statesman Staff
“[Miller’s] style is straightforward, relying less on characterization than on the power of the narrative. It becomes quite easy to lose oneself in these tales, each a ringing denunciation of war told with graphic realism.” – By Rochelle O’Gorman Flynn, Boston Globe Staff
Praise for Critically Acclaimed One Person Show – Timothy Patrick Miller with Ambrose Bierce: “Last Seen In Texas”
“Miller’s Bierce is a character you can’t take your eyes off. This guy is good. Miller is to Bierce as Holbrook was to Twain” – Michael Lee, Cape Cod Voice
“Timothy Patrick Miller is a brilliant actor. This is a magnificent show and a marvelous performance” – Gabor Boritt, Head of the Civil War institute, Gettysburg
“This play is magic. I knew it would be good but never dreamed how good” – George Muschamp, Artistic Director, Gettysburg Theatre Festival
“Timothy Patrick Miller leads his audience down winding paths of lore as if playing the pied piper’s pipe. An enjoyable adventure.” – Jaimie Smith, Austin American Statesman
“Eerie and enthralling” – Dan R. Goddard, San Antonio Express News
Review written by John Bustin. the late great Dean of Texas Theatre Critics
“In theatrical jargon the word presence is used to describe that special quality that enables one performer to dominate the stage where another merely occupies it. An actor who makes an audience notice him not by showy tricks or up-staging his fellow performers has presence. We have a number of fine actors in Austin, but I cant think of anyone who exudes presence the way Timothy Patrick Miller does. He is quite simply a remarkably compelling actor. Miller has had some fat roles since coming to town in everything from Shaw to Tennessee Williams and he has enriched all of them. He’s probably never had as great a vehicle for displaying his formidable talents, though, as a one man show he is currently doing called THE STORYTELLER. Each sketch presents Miller as a different persona. There’s droll humor, and wild black comedy in Bierce’s OIL OF DOG, but the one that perhaps best suits Miller’s larger than life poetic style is THE HOST OF THE AIR. It’s a really hypnotic performance.
Neatly linking the assorted pieces together into a unified whole, Miller manages the even more incredible trick of making us believe totally in whatever character he’s portraying at the moment. It’s a marvelous tour de force,of course,but it’s also some of the most literate and spellbinding entertainment I’ve seen in too long a time.”
Messages From The Greenman
“This is an amusing, wry telling of the story of a Kings son, a neighboring king’s daughter, a sulky dragon and the wise Greenman in this unique twist of the Cinderella fairy tale. Timothy Patrick Miller’s voice is wonderfully gravelly and very satisfying. It is a perfect listening experience as Miller adeptly changes voices between characters and narrating. The quality of writing, storytelling and production is stellar.
Miller is the man behind American Listeners Theatre. He adapts or writes the folk tales, legends and stories featured in the series; and he performs them as well. Miller is an Audie and Earphone award winner and he is a phenomenal storyteller. He has many other titles – this just happens to be my current favorite, but you should try them all.”
ACTOR MAKES HIS OWN SHOW OUT OF JOHN HENRY’S DISTINCTIVE MATERIAL
By John Bustin
Probably like everybody who has sought to flesh out the citizens of “Greater Tuna” in the wake of Joe Sears and Jaston Williams, Timothy Patrick Miller must have felt slightly intimidated when he first wheeled into “Pear Orchard Texas”, a bucolic territory charted by the legendary John Henry Faulk and populated by some colorful characters of his own invention.
Although Mr. Faulk died two years ago, he had managed to get a production of his ” Pear Orchard Texas” on stage a couple of years before his death(and into a PBS-TV special devoted to his career and his ongoing battles as a defender of the First Amendment), and between this exposure and the fact that the late humorist had become such a familiar figure in these parts, one might suppose that the denizens of “Pear Orchard” had virtually died with their creator – at least around Austin.
But Mark T Leonard, the local writer who had directed the original “Pear Orchard”at Live Oak Theater, was so enamored of both Mr.Faulk and his fictional (but barely so) characters that he has resurrected the one-man show for a production in Chicago House’s Downstage theater. It was a show that deserved to keep on living, he felt, and he wisely felt that Tim Miller was the actor who could bring these characters back to life on his own terms.
Mr Miller is a widely versatile but uniformly compelling actor whom I’ve admired and enjoyed for years, but I’d guess it was a somewhat daunting challenge for him to take over Mr. Faulk’s uniquely personalized material. Prudently, neither he nor director Leonard has attempted for their “Pear Orchard Texas” to be merely a Faulk knockoff, a mere impersonation. They have realized that this material (not unlike “Greater Tuna”) has a life of it’s own – one that can be not only sustained but even embellished by another good actor.
As a result, the “Pear Orchard” encore that will be at Chicago House through April 26, has become Mr. Miller’s own show – well, a seamless collaboration between Mr. Faulk’s creations and Mr. Miller’s talents – and it’s certainly a richly entertaining one.