SUNRISE COVEN presented by Know Theatre of Cincinnati through Aug. 28. I attended the opening night performance. 

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Denisa Dal Vera as Hallie, Julie Sonia Locker as Winter Moon & Ryan-Chavez Richmond as Ethan. Photo by Dan R Winters.jpg

Know Theatre kicks off their 25th anniversary season with a surprising and entertaining play SUNRISE COVEN.

Director Holly L. Derr shows a deft hand in managing the quirky but human characters that populate this small Texas town. The set design by Andrew Hungerford works well as the action switches between the hospital and the New Age shop, and serves as a great backdrop for the projected images. Stage manager Grace Wohlschlegel (from her tower at the back of the theater) and the cast handle the choreographed set changes well keep the show moving forward. Danielle Robison’s scenic artistry and prop work really do well in defining the two play spaces and the angel statue was hilarious.

The strong cast is led by Denise Del Vera as Hallie. I enjoyed the bite and weariness that she brought to the character. She easily conveys why the residents of this small Texas town have such an admiration for her and is believable in dealing with the unexpected road she finds her life going down.

Resa Mishina is a welcome newcomer to the Know stage as Annie who can barely contain her fan-girl excitement at meeting her medical idol, Hallie. Mishina brings a fun, barely contained energy to the role, but also handles the confrontation with Hallie well. There were a couple of times when Annie talked so fast that I had trouble understanding what was being said.

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Julie Sonia Locker as Winter Moon. Photo by Dan R Winters.jpg

Julie Locker has a nice energy in the role of witchy new age shop owner Winter Moon. I would have liked to have a seen a bit more passion in the defense of her beliefs as I didn’t feel she always believed what she was selling, so to speak.

Ryan-Chavez Richmond is enjoyable as Hallie’s literal partner in crime, Ethan. While his anger issues are addressed, for the most part Ethan seems to be on a pretty even keel for the most part. It would have been nice to see him struggle to contain that anger here and there, making his actual explosion a bit more logical. I also felt that Ethan and Hallie could have had a nice little emotional moment on their final exit from the shop.  

Michael Burnham was fun as Jax and his line upon being woken-up in the hospital brought back some fond memories of my dad. I enjoyed his performance, but he was a bit too soft-spoken that even in the third row I had to strain to catch some of his lines.

Overall, a quirky, smart, and fun production.

My rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Click here for more information on the production.


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