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THE MYSTERY PLAYS presented by Falcon Theatre through Nov. 21. Click here for more information on the production. I attended the opening night performance.
The title, THE MYSTERY PLAYS, may be a bit misleading. For me, the tone of the slightly-related one-acts hearkens back to such anthology series as The Twilight Zone or Amazing Stories.
Director Lindsey Augusta Mercer gives the production a great, stylized look that I enjoyed very much. The somber color pallet of the costumes, accented at times with hoods and jackets were visually intriguing. Great work by costumer designer Tara Williams and seamstress Lisa Dirkes. Ted J. Weil’s lighting design also adds strongly to the mood.
The show boasts a strong fully-committed ensemble.
In the first act, The Filmmaker’s Mystery, Adam Jones takes the lead as horror movie-maker Joe Manning. Jones gives Manning a self-absorbed but likable personality. As potential love interest Nathan West, Simon Powell gives an honest, believable performance, which makes the truth of the character that much more surprising.
Playwright Roberto Aquirre-Sacasa’s script is very dense, packing much information in this short story. The first act seemed to drag in places underneath that weight. There were times when the delivery of the exposition worked against the information being imparted. Nicole Jeannine Smith has a fun characterization in Joe Manning’s agent, but when the character imports crucial information near the end of the act, the delivery isn’t engaging.
For act two’s Ghost Children, Becca Howell is Abby Gilly, a lawyer returning to her hometown sixteen years after a family tragedy. I found this act to be a bit emotionally flat. In the final moments of her story, when Abby speaks her truth aloud for the first time it should be a dark revelation for the character and an emotional gut-punch to the audience. Without the memories that Abby re-lives building emotionally to this moment, the reveal lacks any true power, making the ending feel a bit anti-climatic going into the epilogue.
Overall a strong, intriguing and visually-strong production.
My rating: 4.25 out of 5.
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