THE HANDMAID’S TALE Review (GYTN)

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Corinne Mohlenhoff as Offred. Photo by Daniel R. Winters Photography.

Corinne Mohlenhoff as Offred. Photo by Daniel R. Winters Photography.

THE HANDMAID’S TALE presented by Know Theatre of Cincinnati through Feb. 21. Click here for more information on the production. I attended the opening night performance. GYTN = Get You Tickets Now.

The story, based on Margaret Atwood’s award-winning dystopian novel of the same name, is engrossing and sadly, still timely. Joe Stollenwerk’s adaptation of the novel is focused, well-balanced and smartly-written. It packs quite an emotional punch, in part, due to how subtly the story pulls you in.

Under the strong direction of Brian Isaac Phillips, Corrine Mohlenhoff’s performance as Offred is totally engaging and showcases her versatility. The character is starkly honest, strong yet vulnerable, and easily relate-able. Offred’s hopes and fears become the audience’s hopes and fears for her, as they hang on every word.

Corinne Mohlenhoff as Offred. Photo by Daniel R. Winters Photography.

Corinne Mohlenhoff as Offred. Photo by Daniel R. Winters Photography.

Noelle Wedig’s costume design is near perfect, a great blend of puritan and militaristic influences. Andrew Hungerford’s simple, yet well-thought set design, under the scenic charge of Sarah Beth Hall, invokes a sense of lost grandeur, not due to the passing of time, but the indifference of an occupying force. His lighting design imparts both location and emotion, from the stark fluorescents of the medical facility to the ominous and foreboding “wall.” Doug Borntrager’s sound design does much to add the atmosphere of the production, and for me, some of the more quiet sound effects had the biggest payoff. Rounding out the production team are technical director Nick Koehike and stage manager Kristen Ruthemeyer, who’s hard work are major contributors to the synergistic-quality of this production.

Corinne Mohlenhoff as Offred. Photo by Daniel R. Winters Photography.

Corinne Mohlenhoff as Offred. Photo by Daniel R. Winters Photography.

This is moving and powerful theater. The audience’s opening night standing ovation is sure to be the first of many. It will sell out. And with Know’s lower-than-the-norm ticket price and Welcome Experiment Wednesdays, there is no excuse to miss it. You won’t be sorry.

My rating: 4.75 out of 5

I would enjoy hearing what you think about the show or my review. All I ask is that you express your opinion without attacking someone else’s opinion. You can post your comments below.

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1 Comment

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One response to “THE HANDMAID’S TALE Review (GYTN)

  1. Donna Hoffman

    “The Handmaid’s Tale” pays homage to a dystopian novel that is always relevant for women. What would it take for men to betray us? However, this adaptation doesn’t create the necessary hills and valleys, the little climaxes along the story to make us sit on the edge of our seat then lets us relax then brings us to the edge of our seat again. Theatre NEEDS that kind of plot line. Novels need it, too, but the horror of the situation and the fear for one’s life that was so present in the novel does not reveal itself in this production. This is a script problem not an actor or director problem. In fact. the production is very well done. To Joe Stollenwerk, the playwright: You don’t have to honor every word of the novel. An adaptation for the stage demands theatricality. This play needed a malevolent male presence. Also, putting Offred’s voice on tape periodically would tie it into the end of the novel. Just a few thoughts…

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