DARKER from New Edgecliff Theatre - Photo by Andrew Hungerford.

DARKER presented by New Edgecliff Theatre as part of the 2011 Fringe Festival. You can read the show description here.

In DARKER, film noir meets Fringe and the result is a very stylized and engaging theater experience. All aspects of the production compliment each other, making the final result more than the sum of its parts.

Director Illana Stein creates beautiful stage pictures and fully-realized performances from her cast of four: Michael Carr as Max, Jeffrey K. Miller as Tom, Mindy Heithaus as Lucy and the lighting. I don’t really know how better to describe it. Using several free standing, unshaded light bulbs in various lit combinations throughout the show. the shadows become a fourth presence on stage. Kudos to Melissa Bennett on her lighting design and technical direction.

Back to the breathing cast, in both look and performance, Mindy Heithaus personifies the femme fatale. One more than one occasion I realized she was standing in a “classic” movie pose…I didn’t see her step into it, but suddenly it was there. It’s attention to these kinds of details by everyone involved that elevates the show. Another component to the success of the show is the genre-matching costume and prop design of Jim Stump.

Catie O’Keefe’s script takes the 1940’s Hollywood mystery and turns it on its side. Clues are dropped throughout the show, and if at the end I didn’t have all my questions answered, I have to wonder…Was that the playwrights intention or did I overlooked the answers hidden throughout the show? Either way, I’m fine with that.

There are a couple of minor issues I did want to mention. The use of the tap light does not match the motif for the production. Also I would encourage actors to hold for another beat or two for the blackouts before breaking the scene.

Four performances remain of DARKER at Know Theatre, Sat, June 4 at 4:30pm; Mon, July 6 at 8pm; Thu, July 9 at 7pm and Fri, June 10 at 9:15pm

Links to all reviews can be found on the BTC REVIEWS page. Blog postings, links to other media reviews and more are available on my FaceBook fan page or you can receive updates on Twitter from @BTCincyRob.

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Filed under Cincy Fringe Festival, Reviews

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