YANKEE TAVERN presented by the Falcon Theatre through Oct. 13. Click here for a synopsis and more information on the production. I attended the opening night performance.
Falcon Theatre kicks off its 2018-19 season with Steven Deitz’s 9/11 conspiracy thriller, YANKEE TAVERN.
The set, designed by director Tracy M. Schoster, immediately places the audience in a small, hole-in-the-wall bar in New York City. The design works well for the space and I was surprised to find that the floor had been painted rather than tiled.
Producing Artistic Director Ted Weil turns in a strong performance as Ray, the mostly homeless friend of the owner and avid conspiracy theorist. Disheveled, bushy, and bug-eyed, Weil handles the dense dialogue well and even surprises himself with his dart throwing skills.
As Janet, the fiancee to inherited bar owner Adam, Becca Howell brings a natural, almost nurturing quality to the role. Her relationships with the three men in the bar are believable and her affection for both Ray and Adam is nicely played.
Kyle Parker Daniels does well as Adam. Physically I’d like to see a bit more energy brought to the character. Since he understandably spends much stage time behind the bar he tends disappear into the set periodically.
In the pivotal role of Palmer, I would like to see Terry Gosdin make some stronger character choices overall and specifically a bigger turn in the character from Act I to Act 2. There just isn’t an edge to Palmer that is needed to sell the confrontation with Janet.
The only issue I had with the costuming has to do with Ray. Suit aside, his clothing doesn’t read as used/thread bare/mis-matched as one might expect. The sound effects of the outside world worked well when the door to the tavern was opened, but seemed to completely disappear when the door was shut. A passing siren or some other loud, brief noise from outside a few times during the acts may have helped keep that atmosphere alive.
Overall, a solid production that is smartly directed, but a bit uneven in its performances.
My rating: 4.25 out of 5.
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