HUNDRED DAYS Review

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Brian Koch, Abigail Bengson, Shaun Bengson & Jo Lampert. Photo by Daniel R. Winters.

Brian Koch, Abigail Bengson, Shaun Bengson & Jo Lampert. Photo by Daniel R. Winters.

HUNDRED DAYS presented Know Theatre of Cincinnati through Aug. 22. Click here for more information on the production. I attended the opening Saturday performance.

More rock concert than traditional musical theatre, HUNDRED DAYS is a unique and powerful theatrical experience.

Abigail Bengson. Photo by Daniel R. Winters.

Abigail Bengson. Photo by Daniel R. Winters.

The scenic and lighting design by Andrew J. Hungerford is simple. There are several platforms with musical instruments and mics at the ready, amid a canopy of individually suspended lights.

As the performers enter, the husband and wife team of The Bengsons, take center stage. Abigail greets the audience and, along with husband Shaun, offers a short introduction. This lack of a fourth wall for the story that unfolds, makes you more participant than audience member. The music is vibrant, entrancing, and at times, haunting. The lyrics have an unique perspective and voice. There is one, well-written book scene that is quirky and charmingly-awkward, yet perfectly in character.

Shaun Bengson. Photo by Daniel R. Winters.

Shaun Bengson. Photo by Daniel R. Winters.

Behind it all is an emotional honesty that is impactful and resonates with you. Several times I was moved to tears. Judging by the number of people wiping their eyes as they exited, I wasn’t alone. And yet the show is cathartic and energizing.

Jo Lampert. Photo by Daniel R. Winters.

Jo Lampert. Photo by Daniel R. Winters.

The Bengsons are supported by a talented group of musicians and vocalists. The cast also includes Colette Alexander, James Creque, Brian Koch, featured vocalist Jo Lampert and Lindsey Augusta Mercer. All under the expert and light touch of director Anne Kauffman. The dancers of Exhale Dance Tribe, choreographed by Sonya Tayeh, add an interesting visual component to several of the numbers. The costumes designed by Noelle Widig speak to the performers personality and the neighborhood of Over-the-Rhine. The tech on the show is smartly handled as usual.

HUNDRED DAYS is unique and powerful, heartfelt and universal. It speaks of your mortality, not to it. A love story, no matter how tragically cut short, is still a love story. And this one is expertly told.

My rating: 4.75 out of 5

Did you know that Know Theatre’s Welcome Experiment offers free admission to Wednesday performances? Details are available here.

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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