Sunday, May 20, 2018

Crossing—Crave Theatre—SE Portland

Sarah McGregor and Jessica Tidd
Photo by Russell J. Young
Shadow Creatures
 This haunting drama is written by Reza de Wet and directed by Sarah Andrews.  It is playing at the Shoebox theatre, 2110 SE 10TH Ave., through June 3rd.  For more information, go to their site at

     On the surface, this is a story about two, weird sisters, Hermien (Sarah McGregor), the boss of the family, and her timid, sheltered, hunchback sibling, Sussie (Jessica Tidd), who live in an ancient house on the banks of a river.

     On one night they are visited by a mezmerizing showman, Maestro (David Mitchum Brown), who claims to be a hypnotist, who proclaims he can transport you to other times and places.  With him is Ezmerelda (Kylie Jennifer Rose), his “assistant,” who cowers at his feet and appears to have been psychologically and physically abused.  The sisters offer refuge to this couple and hear the strange tale of their travels.

But the house and all these people hold secrets.  There are unearthly factors at work here.  Old houses, night terrors, thunder and lightning, noises in the dark and some unholy magic are a perfect combination for nightmares.  As I said, the above is only the surface story, for you must see it, if you dare, and not alone, to discover the mystery that it holds!

     This is a very creepy story that will keep you spellbound from beginning to end.  Max Ward has created a set that keeps the audience feeling as if they are in the framework of the house, peeping in on things that are better left unsaid.  The creators of the lighting effects, Nia Fillo and sound, Andrew Bray, are to be commended, too, for this is as much an atmospheric  production as it is about story and dialogue.  Kudos also to the Stage Manager, Michael Cavazos and Technical Director, Iain Chester, for blending all these elements to maximum effect.

     And the cast of four, especially the ladies, are some of the best actors in this area.  McGregor is sinister, stern and strangely compelling as she attempts to hold her family together. Tidd is always excellent in all she performs and is equally good here as the sister whose soul and sanity seem to be in peril.  Rose is at her best here as a woman/child torn between, perhaps, “the devil and the deep blue sea.”  A tormented spirit who will not be quieted.  And Brown, very effective as the master manipulator, who may have met his match in these ladies. Bravos to all!

     And the best for last, Andrews, who must combine all these elements into a worthy stew for digestion and she does it masterfully!  She and Rose have created a young company, Crave, and they are certainly on firm footing with this outing.  It is original in its concept and they prove they can handle the technical and acting aspects to the nth degree as well.  Much power and success to them, they deserve it!

       If you do choose to see it, -please tell them Dennis sent you. I highly recommend this production.

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