Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Review of the Play “Interference” at The Player’s Ring, Portsmouth, NH through November 4

My son, Scott, is a very discerning observer and critic of music, films and theater. He is not easily impressed, so when he told me that I must make the trip to Portsmouth, NH to see the play, “Interference,” I decided to follow his advice.

With Scott’s permission, I am pleased to pass along his review that he sent out to friends and family who live in the area of the Seacoast of New Hampshire.

okay, as promised, here is my review of INTERFERENCE:

general info, from - Written by local writers Heather Bourbeau and Jacquelyn Benson, "Interference" opens at the Players' Ring,
105 Marcy St., Portsmouth, on Friday, Oct. 19 and runs to Sunday, Nov. 4. Shows are Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 7 p.m. Tickets for general admission are $10 for members, $12 for non-members. Student and senior tickets are $8 for members, $10 for non members. Reservations are suggested and can be made by calling The Players' Ring at (603) 436-8123.

Okay, before i get into my thoughts about this show, i must be completely above boards about one fact; before even stepping foot inside the player's ring last Friday night, i ALREADY liked INTERFERENCE, the first play written by Heather Bourbeau and Jacquelyn Benson. how could i NOT? some of my closest (and longest running) friends were behind the acting, writing and acting in this Ghost story. i was already sold on it. what i had no idea beforehand, however, was just how much i would be absolutely BLOWN AWAY by this, scary, poignant, and very personal work.

INTERFERENCE is a worthy follow up to Sharp Dressed Productions premiere production, last year's ridiculously funny SHARP DRESSED MEN. like SDM, INTERFERENCE was masterfully directed by Andrew Fling. Mr. Fling showed a tremendous understanding of how exactly to use the relatively cramped quarters of the player's ring to create tension, incorporating a unique blend of offstage sounds and ingenious onstage audio-video props to keep the audience spooked for bulk of the show's duration. The blocking was fantastic, and Mr. Fling managed to get uniformly fantastic performances from all four (and a half...) cast members.

Matt Schofield had the somewhat thankless job of playing Max, the newer, skeptical paranormal investigator who had been less than understanding with his ex, and he gave an admirable performance. Joi Smith portrays Lucinda, the quirky, seemingly air headed medium, and she provides the show with a nice touch of humor and warmth. a fantastic revelation was Liz Crane’s intense and heartbreaking performance as Sarah, Max's ex who is plagued by a spirit from their past. In the role of Jason, the (somewhat) more experienced paranormal investigator, Greg Gaskell gives his finest performance to DATE (which is saying a great deal, considering the many fantastic performances the always reliable mr. Gaskell has given in the past.) . and, though he never PHYSICALLY appears on stage, Andy Nowacki gives an absolutely chilling performance as Jake, the spirit who is plaguing Sarah.

the true stars of the show are the playwrights themselves, Heather Bourbeau and Jacquelyn Benson. It's almost impossible to believe that this near perfect script is their first effort. the show has a perfect tone, starting off lite and casual, slowly building to an intense and frightening climax. in films, exposition is a tricky device, used to convey information about characters' pasts in a timely manner. often, flashbacks are utilized to aid in this storytelling tool. often, it is very obvious and clumsy. in live theatre, the use of exposition is even trickier, since there must be SOMEONE on stage at all times. INTERFERENCE has a great deal of exposition, (explaining Sarah and Max's breakup, Jake stalking Sarah, Jason describing past investigations, etc..) and the writers handle it masterfully. the dialogue is very natural, and i never got the sense of "here's the character telling me what happened to them earlier.". the device of having Max be hesitant to believe ANY possibility of the paranormal (and thus echoing the cynicism of the non-believers in the audience) worked quite well , and set the stage for the payoff at the end of the play, when Max finally puts a stop (or does he?) to Jake's terrorizing. i can honestly say that seeing this show was the most intense and exhilarating experience at live theatre i've EVER HAD.

There are still 3 more performances of INTERFERENCE. you owe it to yourself to go see this utterly amazing show.

I affirm Scott’s judgment about this show. I attended the performance last Friday with my son, Ti, and my daughter-in-law, Raluca. It was a thoroughly riveting and enjoyable evening of theater. If you are within a few hours’ drive of the New Hampshire Seacoast, I encourage you to make the trek this weekend to see one of the final three performances. If you miss this special sow, it may haunt you for a good long while!



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