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CESSNA: A Drama Noir presented by Hugo West Theatricals as part of the 2016 Cincinnati Fringe Festival. You can read the show description here.
A 1982 plane crash into a Montgomery bookstore serves as the inspiration for Joshua Steele and Mike Hall’s latest fringe offering.
The small cast of four is top-notch: Mike Hall is John Lockwood, the hard-boiled lead FBI investigator on the case; Carter Bratton plays Charlie Penn, the eager, local cop who catches the case after the accident; Mindy Heithaus is slinky fun as the buxom, femme fatale Dawn Kenicott; and Michael G. Bath, shows great versatility as embezzler Carl Johnson and three other characters.
The show is smartly directed by Greg Procaccino and accompanied by an excellent on-stage jazz trio of Steve Goers, Michael Dudley and Justin Dawson. The use of positioned lamps, as the only lighting for the show, works well for the most part.
I would have liked to have seen the play gain a bit more momentum as it built toward its climax. The shocking moments toward the end of the show, seem abrupt compared to the pacing of the rest of the script. The flight recording, while expertly done, is hard to follow with five different disembodied voices.
As usual, Hall and Steele’s collaboration doesn’t disappoint. I expect tickets to go fast for the rest of the run. Four performances remain through June 11.
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