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Go See This Wide Night at Clifton for Masterful Performances

Review by Liz Eichler of This Wide Night: Clifton Performance Theatre

When you go to This Wide Night, now playing at Clifton Performance Theatre, you will see two of Cincinnati’s most talented performers, inhabiting their characters so completely—all the way down to their toes. Not only that, but you will be about 6 feet away from them, so you can see every nuance of their eyes, lip biting, and shoulder shrug. This is must-see acting.

‘This Wide Night’ is the story of two gals who were roommates in prison, now redefining their lives on the outside. Each is the antagonist and the protagonist in this story which explores a relationship of people who are forced to forge bonds. Their love is platonic, an intimacy based on years of living together in the same cell, yet each woman holds private thoughts and actions, which both protect and destroy them.

We first meet Marie, played with a rawness and quiet energy by the amazing Miranda McGee. She thoroughly explores every corner of the first act. It is in the second act that more is revealed about the character, and McGee’s mastery is unlocked. It comes not in a barrage of words, but the well timed pauses, the focus of the eyes, the position of the arm. She is not acting, she is embodying her character.

Dale Hodges’ Lorraine is Marie’s mother figure—the adored mum of the youngster, the reviled mum of a teen, the friend mum, and dotty mum of a frustrated adult tired of having an old woman around—all at once. Both performers expand the boundaries of accepted behavior, because they have never been able to escape or avoid each other. They devastate, lie, and are rough with each other, but turn on a dime to accept, forgive and enable. They act right down to their toes: Hodges fidgets with her feet, and McGee’s toenail polish reflect who they are, revealing more to the audience than words.

Also revealing are the set dressing and use of space from Set Designer Nazanin Khodadad and properties by Kristen Ruthemeyer-Hammer and Carol Brammer. Director Kevin Crowley has not only evinced great performances from these two masters of the stage, but he crafts an environment so extremely detailed and telling, and uses every inch of the space well. Lighting (Garry Davidson) and Sound (Sebastian Botzow) add to the verisimilitude of the intimate Clifton Performance Theatre.

This is a 90 minute evening, where you can savor every minute. The pace is measured and for some might be slow. The script has some flaws in the first act, but what you will see are two people who have stuck through it with each other. No smartphones to escape. They let each other be who they are, no need for apology, despite the weather, the time, the current emotion. They will be with each other, without an umbrella, through the rain.

CALL NOW FOR TICKETS: 513-813-7469 or www.cliftonperformancetheatre.com