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HEARTS LIKE FISTS presented by Know Theatre of Cincinnati through April 25. Click here for more information on the production. I attended the opening night performance.
Associate Artistic Director Tamara Winters takes the reins of the final mainstage production, offering a strong cast and smartly-staged production.
If Lex Luthor can blame Superman for his hair loss to justify his descent into villainy, then Doctor X’s madness, caused by a broken heart (and a few good blows to the head), doesn’t seem all that far-fetched. In fact, the weakness for each character in the show is relationship-oriented.
James Creque is fun and creepy as drain-bamaged Doctor X. I wouldn’t have minded if he took his performance a bit bigger. Also fun is Lisa DeRoberts as the “awww”-inducing, unlucky in love Nurse, who feeds the hole in her heart with donuts….[mmmmm…donuts…]
The terrific trio of heroines include: Linnea Bond as Sally, who struggles with an on-again/off-again relationship with the police commissioner; Sola Thompson’s Nina, who struggles with her attraction to bad boys; and Jazmin, played by Miranda McGee, who struggles with monogamy. Recruited into their ranks is Lisa (Maggie Lou Rader) who struggles with commitment. Rounding out the cast is Andrew Ian Adams as handsome and clueless Peter, who struggles with his fear that his heart is damaged beyond repair.
A definite highlight of the production are the fight scenes, choreographed by Jonn Baca. Adding even more bang (WHAM! and POW!) are the projected images and sound effects courtesy of Doug Borntrager.
It may have been fun to use voice-over to read some of the locations shifts, ala the Super Friends cartoon. The set worked well, and I thought the dot pattern used to accent the walls was a great touch.
I liked the concept of the costumes for both The Crimefighters and Doctor X, but I did miss some color. Maybe a different color for Doctor X’s lab coat (blood red?) and perhaps a block of the lime green in the women’s tops would have added to the comic book feel. The light-up wrist bands communicators were perfect.
Opening night, I did feel that the pacing could be tightened-up a bit, perhaps a few too many dramatic pauses by the heroes. I did have trouble hearing Doctor at the beginning of his opening monologue and in the hospital scene.
Overall a fun, theatrical, comic-book romp that kicks butt and breaks a few hearts.
My rating: 4.0 out of 5
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