Best Of 2005

BEST COMEBACK PERFORMANCE: Joanna Sycz, Many Mansions

Five years ago, young actress Joanna Sycz was so formidable in Stageworks’ The Cripple of Inishmaan that she looked to be a great new talent in local theater. In fact, Sycz’s riveting portrayal got her picked as Best Actress in the Planet’s Best of the Bay 2000. Well, five years passed; and again and again Sycz’s later performances seemed weak and wrongheaded in comparison with Inishmaan. Until, that is, earlier this summer, when she amazed local audiences in Fresh! Live! Theatre!’s Many Mansions. In Mansions, Sycz was amazingly articulate, intellectual, romantic, skeptical, independent and indomitable. With her ever-so-slight British accent and her remarkable facility with lengthy speeches, she seemed the perfect actress for the plays of George Bernard Shaw, or of any playwright who makes great verbal demands. Now we know Sycz’s secret: she excels in plays of language. In any case: welcome back, Joanna. - Mark E. Leib