Somewhere betwixt and between Mary Shelley (Frankenstein), Stephen Sondheim (Somewhere) and Rod Serling (The Twilight Zone) can be found this very intriguing, never boring, sometimes spooky and worthwhile foray into the future and back to the past double feature production of “Frankenstein with Mary Shelley” adapted by Virginia Bartholomew and “Gabriel” written by Will Le Vasseur.
These two connected at the umbilical cord one act plays can be currently seen at Nicu’s Spoon Theatre 38 West 38 Street – 5th Floor produced by the REDD TALE THEATRE COMPANY as part of its Fifth Season. Just around the corner from Lord & Taylor on Fifth.
If you have a hankering for tales told around the camp fire sort of thing, some excellent acting and great production values on a shoestring budget I suggest you pay your $15.00 and be delightfully surprised at the high caliber work being done by this small troupe of actors.
Virginia Bartholomew, strikingly elegant in her Victorian garb, lights her four candles and steps into the role of the so-very-British Mary Shelley with a barely audible heat beat in the background explaining how she came to write her famous opus Frankenstein and then takes on the parts of creator and monster in this very special one woman show which has been directed and edited by Will Le Vasseur.
Mary Shelley’s love of science, alchemy, anatomy and story telling make for a riveting performance piece. Ms. Bartholomew is simply mesmerizing. She is aided expertly by lighting designer Jason Richards.
After a fifteen minute intermission where the audience is asked to adjoin to the lobby so that a new set can be installed we return to the future with “Gabriel” – directed by Lynn Kenny.
It’s Twilight Zone time here. As written by Mr. Le Vasseur the candles have been replaced by an Apple Lap Top and large screen where technical DNA data is projected.
Henry (Will Le Vasseur), a wealthy British geneticist has invited married couple Pierce (James Stewart) and Susan (Cameran Hebb) to his inner sanctuary to introduce his creation Gabriel who can only speak telepathically. And so we have the off stage voice of Gabriel (Michael Komala) speaking for the on stage embodiment of Gabriel (Michael Wetherbee). It’s weird but it works.
Henry has also been researching an HIV Vaccine which becomes important to the denouement that I won’t divulge. I’ll only say that I did expect at any moment to hear the strains of Sondheim’s “Somewhere” waft into this brave new world.
“Gabriel” verges on the edge of melodramatic futuristic camp but never goes over the top due to the seriousness and honesty of its actors.
It’s an exciting company to keep a watchful eye on.
Through August 27th. www.reddtale.org Thurs.-Sat 8pm Sat 2pm NO SHOW 8/12
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