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BUREAU OF MISSING PERSONS presented by Know Theatre of Cincinnati through Dec. 20. Click here for more information on the production. I attended the opening night performance.
How far would you go to save the one you lost?
I very much enjoyed Tamara Winters directorial debut with SATURDAY THE 14TH as part of this summer’s SERIALS! Taking on her first Mainstage production, Winters doesn’t disappoint with solid work on the BUREAU OF MISSING PERSONS.
Kate Glasheen returns to the Know stage as Angela, a former teacher struggling to recover from a nervous breakdown, unable to forgive herself for a loss that she feels responsible for. Glasheen expertly depicts Angela’s emotional struggle and her desperate attempt to redeem herself.
Playing Angela’s fiance is Rico Reid as Richard. He convincing portrays Richard’s struggle to stay supportive of Angela after 18 months of putting their life together on hold. His classroom lecture early in the show emphases the theme of the play and is well-performed. I would like to have seen him shift his gaze a bit more to the “class” during dialogue breaks instead of taking his eyes to the floor.
Simon, a kindergarten teacher suffering a loss of his own, is played by Sam Ray. Ray brings an earnest vulnerability to the role. Simon’s coping mechanism of being stuck in simple “teacher-speak” as he loses himself in his work is fun and a little sad. This habit brings many laughs when Richard serves as his foil.
The performance that didn’t quite mesh for me was Adrianne Underhill as Vivian. Vocally I found her to be flat, and she didn’t offer any kind of emotional connection to Angela. It didn’t have to be displayed to Angela, but the audience should have been given some hint of it. Vivian’s role as instigator of the events in the play indicate she was emotionally invested in Angela’s recovery but I didn’t feel it. I also found Vivian’s costume to be confusing. The baby doll silhouette wasn’t appropriate for the character’s age. If you were going for a cougar look the styling and accessories were off.
Burgess Byrd is solid as usual in the role of Patrice. I think there is more humor to be found for the character in the script and a little quirkiness could add an uniqueness to the character.
As scenic designer, Andrew Hungerford again creates a unique look for the show and the choice of material for the back wall doors and the stage floor is very smart. The numerous and varied objects that filled the upstage shelves were well-chosen and well-displayed, courtesy of Sarah Beth Hall. It was fun to explore them as I waited for the show to begin. Solid tech across the board.
Interesting, humorous and thoughtful, BUREAU OF MISSING PERSONS is a satisfying tale.
My rating: 4.25 out of 5
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