succeeds on some levels, delivering a very methodic physical performance, never breaking character. Even during the dimly lit scene changes, she can be seen being led on- and offstage by the other actors. While her basic mannerisms are good, the emotional component is inconsistent.
Mikayla Savuto plays Annie with affectations that unfortunately don't amount to a complete portrait. While she embodies Annie's obstinate determination, especially when butting heads with Helen, her sly humor is often tossed aside. Both Sullivan and the play are plagued by a series of poorly executed and heavy-handed audio flashbacks.
The two most consistent quality performances come from Jean Marie Otto and David Palmer as Helen's parents, balancing the emotional elements well against the broader comedy.
With two directors, Debra Stegall Hill and Randall Hunter, it's not clear how some of these details slipped by, until I noticed Hill is also credited for the design of the awesome set along with Tom Linck. Despite pink walls that a Civil War captain likely wouldn't ever have settled for, the space is functional and, in a nod to a line from the play, has a bit of a dollhouse feel to it. But either due to bad planning or just poor staging, a quarter of the set featuring the Keller den is barely ever used.
With all the effort, it's just a shame that Hill and Hunter didn't pay a little less attention to the sets and a little more to the performances. While still functional as an introduction to the material for children, this production is anything but miraculous.
The Miracle Worker stages at 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, 3 p.m. Sunday, through May 24 at Poteet Theatre inside St. Luke's United Methodist Church, 222 N.W. 15th.