Sunday, October 16, 2011

Cloud 9, Theatre Vertigo (Grade B-)

by Caryl Churchill
Directed by Jon Kretzu
Clive   .....   Andy Lee-Hillstrom
Betty   .....   James Sharinghousen
Joshua  .....   Joel Harmon
Edward   .....   R David Wyllie
Victoria   ..... AS HERSELF
Maud   .....   Kerry Ryan
Ellen   .....   Jane Fellows
Mrs Sanuders   .....   Melissa Whitney
Harry Bagley   .....   JR Wickman
Betty     ... Jane Fellows
Edward   .....   Anyd Lee-Hillstrom
Young Edward    .....   R David Wyllie
Victoria   .....   Melissa Whitney
Martin   .....   JR Wickman
Lin   .....   Kerry Ryan
Cathy   .....   Joel Harmon
Gerry   .....   James Sharinghousen

sez says: this is a fabulous play--adequately presented--with some real highpoints and one big problem.

First the Play's subject is poignant, playfully done and important.  That is: how is gender created. It is presented as much more complex than a 'fact of birth'  What are the prices paid (individually and as a society) for accepting the mandates of mandatory heterosexuality.  How are systems of domination intertwined: sexism, racism, patriarchy, etc.  The dialogue is wonderful. It is a play that you could read and enjoy--and it proves again that Theatre Vertigo picks some of the best material around to produce.

The production's big problem is mostly a problem of staging. They have tried to do theater-in-the too small of a space.  And if you've got the wrong seats (as we did)  you mostly sit and stare at one of the character's backs. The mirrors that are suppose to help the audience see, do not work.  Nor do they address the problem of an actor speaking lines while facing away from you: The lines can get lost.

That aside  ... the play is still well worth seeing. 

Some high points are: Andy Lee-Hillstrom's CLIVE.  He is on the mark with his character and it is fun to watch him.  Kerry Ryan also finds just the right angle to breath life into Maud.  The only really miscast character was JR Wickman as Harry Bagley.  While Wickman is a fine actor this should have been a boisterous, big-chested, deep-voiced, Man's-Man's-Jungle-Hunter-Explorer. That way his homosexuality / and interest in little boy's would make the point stronger, that is,  you never can tell who really desires whom.
And who desires whom is where all the fun / and the seriousness lies.  

But finally, the peak is reached --and the whole play is worth seeing just to hear Jane Fellows present the ending soliloquy. She brought tears to the eyes of more than one person in our party.

It is by no means a perfect production--but it is still worth seeing. It is truly enjoyable

mjc says:  This company is getting better and better.  It is not up to top notch Off-Broadway but they are fearless in their selection of material without flaunting its edginess.  This had the best of what I like in a play: the language, the twists and turns between horror, laughter, poignancy and desire.  Looking forward to more and more from them.

1 comment:

  1. Brooke from Vertigo here! Thank you so much for your wonderful support of our small company. :D It truly means a lot to us and we plan on continuing to do *interesting* work. I will make sure Jane sees your kudos - I do believe that monologue is just stunning.