I had the pleasure of seeing this production twice— once in NYC at the Westside Theatre/Upstairs, and again this past weekend in the Raleigh Memorial Theater production. Both productions were excellent, though venues are vastly different and, due to circumstances of the day, the Screwtape character was played by different actors in each one. Steven Hauck's (Max McLean's understudy) presentation in the July 4th NYC version was wicked and deliciously evil, fun, and intimate, which is the nature of the Westside Theatre. For this kind of show, theater in the small(-ish) is superb. But Max McLean's performance at the vastly larger and less intimate Raleigh Memorial carried all the necessary energy to reach out into the bigger venue. Still, I am glad of being seated relatively close to the performers. I am biased in thinking that distance may diminish some of the really fun visual impact of the piece, the impact that comes from seeing facial expressions along with the changes in mood, tempo, lighting, and body postures and attitudues—that constitute the main 'action' in this show. I would definitely see it again, a few more times. Very glad it came to Raleigh.
Indy Week • 201 W. Main St., Suite 101, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
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