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MIRACLE ON SOUTH DIVISION STREET presented by the Human Race Theatre Company through Sept. 21. More information.
HTRC kicks off their 2014-2015 season with the family comedy, MIRACLE ON SOUTH DIVISION STREET. As with playwright’s Tom Dudzick other play, Over the Tavern, the family’s Catholic faith is an important element to the plot. This is not to say that you have to be Catholic to enjoy the show, but if you are, you may get a few more chuckles and guffaws for your money.
Director Richard E. Hess gives the production a nice, honest feel. The characters are real and believable as a family and the dynamic between its members works well. The blocking is solid with good stage pictures no matter where you are sitting. Fun staging throughout the show, such as the argument that leaves and returns to the stage, and good pacing keep the energy up.
The set works well for play areas and sight lines. The generic “modern” look with the refuse-to-die, older appliances works well. I was a bit confused on the setting of the play though. The clothing is non-specific, the cell phones are dated, yet the program lists the time as early Autumn, present day.
The slightly, out-there premise and talkie-ness of the script could go south quickly without a talented ensemble. Thankfully that is not a problem here.
Lauren Ashley Carter and Kyle Nunn play the younger Nowak siblings, Ruth and Jimmy. Both are UC College-Conservatory of Music alums, and their common past serves well in creating a strong bond between the two characters. Their scenes together are very natural and have a good energy to them.
Jennifer Joplin enters like a hurricane as older sister Beverly. She seems more partner in crime to mother Clara, than daughter. With that dynamic, it’s easy to understand the friction between sisters Beverly and Ruth.
Rounding out the cast as the mother is Wendy Barrie-Wilson. Her Clara is obviously of devout, stubborn, stout stock. As the family patriarch, there were a few times I felt she could have been more stern. In the final scene between Ruth and Clara, I would have liked to have seen a bit more closeness between the two, due to the changes to their relationship.
Overall, a cute, fun and funny (Catholic) family comedy.
My rating: 3.5 out of 4