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“The Addams Family” Takes Residence at The Covedale Theater Just in Time for Halloween!

Review by John Woll of “The Addams Family”: Covedale Theatre

They’re crazy and kooky, all right, and taking up residence just in time for Halloween at The Covedale Theater. 

“The Addams Family” was originally conceived by legendary American cartoonist Charles Addams for ‘The New Yorker’ magazine in 1938. You may remember this wacky family from the popular mid-sixties TV series, feature films and multiple spinoffs including the newest 3D animated film currently in movie theaters.

In 2009, a collaboration between Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice (co-authors of JERSEY BOYS) and composer Andrew Lippa (BIG FISHTHE WILD PARTY) resurrected them in a musical comedy entitled (of course) THE ADDAMS FAMILY. This may seem odd, considering that the Addams are a dark, morbid, goth family who you would think would despise things like music, but it actually works really well.

The stage is set with the introduction of the macabre and satirical seven-member household at their Mansion in Central Park. Audiences love these characters and once they recognized the theme song in the overture, the whole house started snapping along! We learn of the Addams moniker in the catchy opening number ‘When You’re an Addams’.

Leading “with the sword as well as the heart” is the suave patriarch Mr. Gomez (played with style by the perfectly accented Jeremiah Plessinger). Mother Morticia (Keri Baggs) adds a slinky, seductive and powerfully unassuming dead-pan. Uncle Fester (Kyle Taylor) charges the stage with powerhouse vocals and scene stealing hilarity, while Grandma (Renee Maria) boastfully and maniacally refills her potions and Lurch (Peter Cutler) adds a perplexing and foreboding presence as the giant, monosyllabic butler. Pugsley (Isaiah Current) excels as the precocious masochist little brother and Wednesday (Annie Schneider) is the ultimate princess of darkness, torturing her brother and shaking up the entire family all while belting out her emotions all the way to the back row of the theater. There is even a surprise brief visit from cousin IT!

THE ADDAMS FAMILY– The Musical, is a comical feast that embraces the wackiness in every family, featuring an original story which is every father’s nightmare: Wednesday Addams has grown up and fallen in love with a sweet young man from a respectable family – a man her parents have never met. And if that weren’t upsetting enough, Wednesday confides in her father and begs him not to tell her mother. Now, Gomez Addams must do something he’s never done before – keep a secret from his beloved wife, Morticia. Everything will change for the whole family on the fateful night they host a dinner for Wednesday’s “normal” boyfriend and his parents. This is just enough to shake up the status quo, unnerve the parents, and bring the ghouls out of the mansion basement.

Karen Gallliers Hendershot has a breakthrough performance as Alice, a down-trodden poetry loving wife who proves to have hidden depths.

The shows stationary set by Brett Bowling is a beautifully creepy background that works very well. The lighting design of Denny Reed adds the proper ambiance to set the story and the costumes by Caren Brady are particularly successful for the Addams, The midwestern Bieneke family and the Greek Chorus of Ancestors. The choreography by Jenni Bayer covers many genres and adds just enough flash and flair, including a magnificent smoldering tango between Gomez and Morticia.

The show supplies lots of laughs through song and dance for the macabre troupe, along with a plotline for lovable ghouls. It is the perfect way to get into the spirit of the Halloween season.

Cincinnati Landmark Productions presents  THE ADDAMS FAMILY at The Covedale Theater running through November 10th.

Spend Halloween with “The Addams Family” at Covedale

Review by Doug Iden of “The Addams Family”: Covedale Theatre

When you set your agenda for Trick or Treat, consider including “The Addams Family”, currently residing at the Covedale Theater.  Originally conceived as a cartoon written by Charles Addams for the New Yorker Magazine, ”The Addams Family” became a live-action television series, then several films and finally a Broadway Musical of the same name (originally starring Nathan Lane and Bebe Neuwirth). 

The Addams family is a macabre comic inversion of the “normal, Donna Reed” depiction of the All-American suburbanfamily.  Family members include father Gomez (Jeremiah Plessinger), mother Morticia (Keri Baggs), daughter Wednesday (Annie Schneider) son Pugsley (Issiah Current), Uncle Fester (Kyle Taylor), Grandma Addams (Renee Maria) and butler Lurch (Peter Cutler) who all live in their spooky residence in New York’s Central Park.  With tongue firmly ensconced in cheek, normalcy in the Addams family includes mother Morticia lovingly calling her son “vermin” and “cockroach” and longing for a dream trip to the sewers of Paris among many other dark allusions to bizarre behaviors.  There are many morbid puns and plays on words.  It helps your appreciation of the underlying humor if you are familiar with the tone of the classic TV program.

The conflict arises when Wednesday falls in love with a truly “normal” hayseed from Ohio, Lucas Beineke (played by Elliot Handkins) and wants to invite him and his parents to dinner.  One of the most memorable scenes is the song “One Normal Night” when both families prepare for the anticipated (and dreaded) dinner party.  Morticia bakes an “apple pie” and Gomez throws a football on one side of the stage while the Beineke parents (Alice played by Karen Galliers Hendershot and Mal portrayed by Jacob Butler) try to figure out how to prepare for this outlandish confrontation.  It’s the classic: boy meets girl, boy loses girl and boy gets girl back again story told in a darkly hilarious manner.

There is also an unusual chorus called collectively the Ancestors who live in a crypt on the Addams family estate.  Individual ancestors are not identified but, due to excellent costuming by Caren Brady, we can see historic and fictional characters including the Mad Hatter, Grand Inquisitor, Marie Antoinette, a World War I soldier, a conquistador, a flapper and a bride.  Through a combination of drab costumes and makeup, the Ancestors appear to be ghosts.  The Ancestors (Jeremy Neale Cox, Liam Sweeney, Christian Arias, Tyler Rosenblatt, Savannah Boyd, Mary Mills, Kelsey Chandler and Sally Modzelewski) sing and dance well throughout the show.

The non-descript music but extraordinarily clever lyrics by Andrew Lippa are sung admirably by the cast. All of the principals have good to excellent voices with a special nod to Plessinger, Schneider and Hendershot.  Youngster Issiah Current excels as Pugsley both in acting (for his age) and his command of the stage.  Kyle Taylor as the ubiquitous Uncle Fester almost steals the show.  Plessinger portrays a dashing Gomez with great charm and charisma and Baggs personifies the Goth, gorgeous, unsmiling and slyly witty Morticia to delicious delight.  Tall, statuesque and draped in a black flowing dress, Baggs looks exactly like her cartoon counterpart.  Peter Cutler as Lurch is largely silent but displays his pipes at the end of the show.

A primary theme of the show is honesty of relationships.  Keeping secrets leads to many plot complications and erodes both sets of marriages.

The staging by Brett Bowling amplifies the eeriness of the show with a creepy house replete with gargoyles and a suit of armor, a decrepit crypt (home of the Ancestors), several park benches and a very significant humongous moon.  Unlike many other shows, there are few movable props but a large dinner table moves the story along.  Denny Reed’s lighting enhances the spookiness with lots of red lights (blood) and an everchanging hue of the moon.  At the end, there is a very illuminating twist to the moon.

Again, the costuming is extraordinary in the show including many wigs worn by Morticia, Gomez and the Ancestors. There is a subtle change in the makeup and costumes of the Ancestors towards the end.  The punch line in one significant scene centers on two yellow dresses.

Director Bob Brunner, choreographer Jeni Bayer and Music Director and keyboardist Ron Attreau contribute nicely to the show.  There is considerable dancing including a number of tangos highlighted by Morticia and Gomez’s “Tango De Amor”.  Dancing by the Ancestors is both ethereal (as ghosts) and energetic in the tango scenes.  

Overall, this is a fun show with enough social satire to provide some dramatic meat.  The Gomez/Morticia relationship, the Ancestors and Uncle Fester carry the day.  

So, celebrate your upcoming Halloween by Lurching down with other Ohio and Kentucky hayseeds to the Covedale Theater to visit “The Addams Family” running through November 10.  

Northern Kentucky University’s “Three Sisters” Gives Patrons a Glimpse into Russian Culture

Review by Mary Kate Groh of “Three Sisters”: NKU Theatre

Northern Kentucky University opens its second performance of the season with one of Anton Chekhov’s greatest plays, “Three Sisters.” The play, hidden with bits of humor scattered throughout, is the story of the Prozorov sisters and their brother who yearn to return to their adventure-filled life in Moscow. “Three Sisters,” directed by Mike King, is packed with emotions, aching desires and dreams, and the heartbreaking realities that are so often experienced.

The play opens in the spring of 1895 at the home of the Prozorovs where we meet the three sisters. Olga (Chelsea Trammell) is the oldest; the feisty Masha (Rachel Kazeez) is the middle sister who is stuck in an unhappy marriage; and then there’s the optimistic Irina (Hannah Beaven) who dreams of going back to Moscow. Their brother, Andrey (Joel Parece), dreams of being an influential university professor, but his issues with gambling and his marriage to his controlling wife, Natasha (Gabriela Barbosa–Gonzales), prevent him from chasing his dream.

My favorite aspect of this production was the beautifully decorated stage. Scenic designer, Anna Catton, crafted a superb staging design that transported me into an affluent 19th century home in Russia. The costumes, designed by Jacob Miller, really brought the entire production and mood-setting for the time period. While the actors did a phenomenal job with the material they were given, I found myself having a hard time hearing the lines being spoken, therefore, I found myself having a hard time following the story. I was not familiar with Chekhov’s work before seeing this production, so I did not know what to expect going into this play.

“Three Sisters” is playing in NKU’s Stauss Theater until October 27. For more information and to purchase tickets, call the NKU School of the Arts Box Office at (859) 572-5464 or visit NKU.edu/sotatickets.

CCM Presents Thought-Provoking “Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time”

Review by Nathan Top of “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time”: CCM Acting

Winner of the 2015 Tony Award for Best Play, “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” is based on the novel of the same name by Mark Haddon and tells the story of Christopher John Francis Boone
(Jabari Carter), a teenage mathematical genius who falls somewhere on the spectrum of autism or Asperger’s Syndrome. After being falsely accused of murdering the neighbor’s dog with a garden fork,  Christopher is forced to solve the mystery and clear his name. His amateur detective work, however, begins to unravel a series of secrets and relationships in his life, particularly involving his father, Ed, and his deceased mother, Judy. 

The role of Christopher has a lot of rules: He doesn’t like other people, being touched or shouted at, or jokes. There is a lot of subtext infused with this character at all times, affecting every decision and reaction throughout the work. Jabari Carter shines with nuance in the role; both his delivery and movement are captivating to watch. Gabe Nasato takes on the complex role of Christopher’s father, Ed, balancing saintlike patience with emotional exhaustion and frustrating isolation as a single parent, while Sierra Coachman elegantly portrays the heartbreaking inner-conflict of Christopher’s mother, Judy. However, the true show-stealer of the evening was Amanda Nelson, playing Christopher’s teacher, Siobhan, who is also the narrator of the show. Her engaging storytelling is an irreplaceable asset to the show, as she delivers monologues and interjections reading from Christopher’s book/journal.  The rest of the actors in the ensemble each play multiple characters throughout, including an old lady, a jilted neighbor, an alcoholic, a reverend, two different policemen, a train station attendant, and a rat. A highlight of the evening was watching Frankie Chuter play Toby, the escaped rat.

This is not a short play. Running at two hours and thirty five minutes, intermission included, the two act takes the audience on an extensive, detailed journey through Christopher’s life and mind, with some of the second act feeling longer than it needed to be. Despite this, director Richard Hess truly captures the essence of the play, which casts a wide net of moods: dark yet whimsical, humorous yet heartbreaking, grounded yet hopeful. 

The scenery, designed by CCM student Seth Howard, is both jarring and fascinating to see, even before the show starts. Upon entering the theater in the round, the audience sees, at the center, a dog impaled by a garden fork placed on top of a podium like staircase. This is surrounded by several large pieces, creating the feeling we are looking into a giant toy box, including wooden blocks, benches, a bed, a table, and some coats. This lends itself to the capricious scene-work of the play, which takes the audience through over thirty different locations, many of which we enter and exit suddenly.

The stage choreography is beautiful, appearing as a pseudo-interpretive dance to reflect how Christopher experiences significant and traumatic moments in the show. At times, the intimate stage of the Cohen Family theatre feels appropriately claustrophobic as the cast, also acting as stage crew, moves the set pieces (doors, benches, pieces of scenery) around like clockwork. This gives the illusion of a vast, fluid world. 

Largely ambitious and creatively successful, “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” is a show not to be missed. Running through October 20th, tickets can be purchased here.  

Classic Russian Play, “Three Sisters” Gives Us A New Translation

Review by Blair Godshall of “Three Sisters”: NKU

NKU opens their second play of the season with a new translation of
Anton Chekhov’s “Three Sisters” (1901) by Dr. Sharon Carnicke (University of Southern California). This story is told with humor, but it took a bit of time for the audience to warm up and respond to it. That’s understandable, as Anton Chekov’s plays often give off a deep seeded melancholy emphasizing the bittersweet distance between where the characters are and where they want to be. The hopes and boredom of the Prozorov sisters are earnestly played out by a mix of acting and musical theatre majors in director Mike King’s analytical and dramatic production.

We meet the Prozorov sisters who are trapped by circumstances in a small town far from Moscow in 1895. There’s Olga (Chelsea Trammell), the oldest and a high school teacher, Masha (Rachel Kazee), the middle sister, trapped in an unhappy marriage to the pedantic teacher Kulygin (Nathaniel Clifford) and the youngest sister, Irina (Hannah Beaven), ever the optimist yearning for opulence. Their brother, Andrey (Joel Parece), wants to be a professor at Moscow University but settles for gambling and a marriage to Natasha (Gabriela Barbosa–Gonzales), an oddly dressed woman with a controlling personality. With army officers visiting frequently, the sisters have their company to pass the time.

What I enjoyed about this production of “Three Sisters” (directed by Mike King) is the naturalistic human qualities of each of the characters as they try desperately to garner some happiness out of their mundane existence. We witness both the decay of the privileged class in Russia and their search for meaning. The three sisters’ frustration is played out through their longings for a return to Moscow and their unhappy relationships. I did have a difficult time following the story though and at times, it was challenging to hear or comprehend what the actors were saying. I’m not the biggest fan of Chekov’s plays but I do appreciate that his works continue to be produced and interpreted in newly translated and adapted versions.

This is a beautifully decorated production giving all credit to Scenic Designer Anna Catton who seamlessly transports the audience into an exquisite living and dining room in 19th Century Russia. Aaron Burns’ lighting design gives us almost a calming eeriness with the use of blue lighting to echo the night sky.

For more information and to purchase tickets, call the NKU School of the Arts Box Office at (859) 572-5464 or visit NKU.edu/sotatickets.

A Night of Laughs, Blood, and Horror for Cincinnati Shakespeare Company’s “Titus Andronicus”

Review by Christiana Molldrem Harkulich of “Titus Andronicus”: Cincinnati Shakespeare Company

During Shakespeare’s lifetime, “Titus Andronicus” was one of his most popular plays. It’s well known as the goriest of the Shakespearean tragedies, and the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company’s production of “Titus Andronicus” takes up that mantle in their production that runs through November 2nd. Finely acted and costumed, Titus is a great offering for some Halloween entertainment with a Shakespearean twist this month.

Maggie Lou Rader and Jim Hopkins in “Titus Andronicus”

The production, which is inexplicably set in a steampunk aesthetic, tells the story of Roman general Titus Andronicus (Jim Hopkins) and his victorious return to Rome after the death of the last Emperor. As the play begins, the people are deciding between the late emperor’s two sons: the elder playboy Saturninus (Justin McCombs) and the younger clear-headed Bassianus (Rupert Spraul) who is also engaged to Titus’s daughter Lavinia (Maggie Lou Rader). Rashly, because Titus adheres to the order of things rather than clearly thinking about them, Titus chooses Saturninus and that choice leads to all their downfalls. Titus offers Lavinia’s hand in marriage to Saturninus, which upsets Lavinia, Bassianus, and all of Titus’s sons. Saturninus quickly forsakes Lavinia’s hand in favor of Tamora, Queen of the Goths (Miranda McGee), whom Titus had defeated and brought back to Rome as a prisoner.  While it seems at first this is a play about politics, it is actually a revenge tragedy between Tamora and Titus, because Tamora has sworn revenge on Titus for killing her eldest son when they arrived in Rome despite her pleas. This one death will lead to the death of them all as Tamora and Titus avenge themselves on each other by turns. If you get confused, the whole of the plot is explained in your program, and in the many projections used throughout the show.

The Company, many of which we’ve already seen on stage at CSC this season, played well as an ensemble and if the space allowed I could write about all of them. McCombs’ Saturninus is a delight, and does a wonderful comedic job setting the tone for audience interactivity in the opening scenes. Miranda McGee as Tamora and Darnell Pierre Benjamin as Aaron the Moor (who is Tamora’s actual lover) are having a blast as the villains of the play. McGee uses her eyebrows and delivery to suggest all sorts of delicious innuendos; and Benjamin’s gleeful direction of murder and mischief make you nearly glad to watch harm come to the Andronicus family. Jim Hopkins carries the role of Titus with gravitas and then madness believably. Maggie Lou Rader plays Lavinia with pathos and justice in her heart, and the moment where she finally names her rapists is powerful.

“Titus Andronicus” is one of Shakespeare’s early plays, and is not frequently produced in part because of all the blood and gore. While this production has a goodly amount of blood on stage, I would have expected more based on the advertising. This was less of a Tarantino blood-fest and more of a Sweeney Todd. Rainy Edward’s costume design created the world of the play, blending some Roman elements with a steampunk aesthetic to great success. The production used projections (designed by Douglas J Borntrager who also designed the sound) to create titles for the different scenes as a sort of Brechtian aesthetic. This added to the overall steampunk feel of the play but mostly, in my opinion, undermined Shakespeare’s text and added to the run time. As well as projections, there were also videos that give us a visual narrative for some of the exposition and are done in a sepia-toned 1930s Newsreel style. Designed by Ryan Lewis, the videos are visually sumptuous and funny, but perhaps unnecessary.  I was sad to have one of the major reveals in the play happen in a video and not on-stage. 

Director Jeremy Dubin, who is also the education director for CSC, writes in his note that this is Shakespeare’s horror movie. But Dubin’s direction makes it clear that he thinks this is horror more in the realm of the “Scream” or “Scary Movie” franchise, than something out of Stephen King. And despite some fine acting and staging, I think that’s to the detriment of the production. The campy aesthetic is fun, but ultimately undermines the horror of the play. When a noose appears on stage to threaten Aaron, an actor of color, it brings a different mood and color to the moment. And In a post #metoo world where Brock Turner’s victim is publishing her account, Lavinia’s violent rape and struggle to name her accuser resonates closer to reality than the campy fun of the rest of the play. 

The audience on opening night was by turns howling with laughter and shock at the events of the play. “Titus Andronicus” is a fine night at the theatre and a great pre- or post- Halloween activity to get you in the mood for the season. Tickets are available here.

A Toe-Tapping Spook-tacular Opening for the 100th Season of The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati

Review by Christiana Molldrem Harkulich of “Casper: The Friendly Musical”: Cincinnati Children’s Theatre

There’s something really magical about watching theatre with children. Their wonder, joy, and unabashed reactions are so honest. It’s especially fun when they are also dressed up for the show. This weekend, the Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati continued their 100-year tradition of providing high quality performance for the whole family with the premiere of “Casper: The Friendly Musical” at the Taft Theatre. This Halloween-themed show is a wonderful way to get kids in the mood for the fall season.

This is the world premiere of the newly adapted for children’s theatre version Casper The Friendly Musical by Stephen Cole and Matthew Weber. Based on the many incarnations of the “Casper: The Friendly Ghost” comic and cartoon (including the 1995 movie which I grew up watching), this musical is only a little over an hour long and provides lots of moments to connect with the children and the young at heart in the audience. All of the familiar elements of the Casper story are included: the old falling down house, the ghost uncles, the missing deed to said falling down house, the many people who would like to own the deed to the house, and of course the little ghost who just wants to make friends. In this version of the Casper story, Magdalena (who was Casper’s family maid before Casper’s parents died) has a reality television show that is hosting a contest for kids on Halloween night at Casper’s haunted house. The rules of the contest are simple: the kid that finds the deed in the house before midnight will receive a prize of a million dollars. Of course, this house is haunted by Casper and his three uncles, and Casper is very excited to have guests. Over the course of the evening, the children (who have a variety of motivations for finding the money that are not very friendly) make friends with Casper and discover the true meaning of friendship.

The production design is excellent and luscious. Jennifer Rhodus’s scenic design and Matthew P. Benjamin’s light design work together seamlessly to bring us into Casper’s house. Jeff Shearer’s costume design wows–from Magdalena’s show stopping dresses to the make up and costumes for the ghosts that are particularly marvelous. The ensemble sings wonderfully, and keeps the show moving along. Eric Byrd’s choreography is fun and silly, and sure to please the younger members of the audience. Of particular note is a tap dance number performed by the ghost Uncles Stinky (played with panache by A. James Jones), Stretch (a tall and likable Sam Johnson), and Fatso (a plucky Joey Logan); through the ingenious use of black-light the ghost feet tap without bodies and all sorts of fun visual puns are created.

From leads through ensemble, “Casper” sings well together. Marissa Poole’s villainious Magdalena is a ton of fun. Weber and Cole wrote a longer version of this musical in 2001 for the Pittsburgh CLO company that starred Chita Rivera in the role of Magdalena, but Poole makes the role her own here. The young artist’s company hold their own, with Jack Theodore Kruse’s Casper and Evan Blust’s Donald creating earnest moments of friendship in their scenes and singing. Mackenzie Ruff’s Bettina stood out in particular for her gorgeous vocals and acting chops, I expect we’ll see more of her on the Cincinnati area stages soon.

From the moment you walk into the theatre and are offered a variety of snacks and drinks for sale and photo opportunities, to when you sit down and have trivia and audience rules to learn, the Children’s Theatre has clearly been thoughtfully engaging how to make a great experience for kids and families at the theatre. “Casper: The Friendly Musical” is a great first (or second or third) show to bring your ages 4+ kids to go see, and I hear it’s even better when you come in costume (but you certainly don’t have to). Casper is playing at the Taft Theatre through October 20th for Public Performances, and tickets are available here. Here’s to another 100 years of wonderful theatre for young audiences with The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati.

CSC Presents 15th Century Slasher “Titus Andronicus” Through a Modern Lens

Review by Nathan Top of “Titus Andronicus”: Cincinnati Shakespeare Company

I am not normally a fan of Shakespearian plays, generally because most of my experience with them has been mediocre casts botching the language, dragging the pace, and failing to achieve any layers of subtext. 

Darnell Pierre Benjamin and Miranda McGee in CSC’s “Titus Andronicus”

Cincinnati Shakespeare Company’s production of “Titus Andronicus” is what a Shakespeare play should be: everything that a classic play is meant to be for the 21st century.

Set in the imaginative world of steampunk ancient Rome, “Titus Andronicus” chronicles the bloody exploits of a revenge-seeking title character. Upon returning triumphant from wars against the Goths, General Andronicus is nominated emperor by his brother Marcus. Andronicus relinquishes the title to the slithering, power-hungry Saturninus and, to avenge his fallen sons in the war, sacrifices the hostage Alarbus, eldest son of the Goth queen Tamora. These two decisions begin a gruesome chain reaction of events, ultimately leading to a surprising yet inevitable tragic conclusion.

The costumes and set reflect a 1950-60s sci-fi steampunk world, reminiscent of what one might find in a Jules Verne novel. Resident costume designer Rainy Edwards has imagined several evocative ensembles for the cast, a few of the most memorable including the use of glow sticks. The use of fur, patches, and goggles adds color to the world and smartly delineates the hierarchy of characters right from the start of the show. I just hope they can get all of that fake blood out of the costumes before tomorrow’s show.

Designed by the inventive Justen N. Locke, the set implies a large world for the stage, transporting the audience from location to location with the use of a few crucial pieces for each. The large scaffolding of a set also contains some surprises for the audience, one of which caused them to burst into claps of surprised amusement upon the reveal. I don’t think I have ever seen a production where the set actually stole the show before. The set was especially effective when combined use of several short expository split-reelesque films designed by Ryan Lewis and transitional music choices, which helped the show to strike a balance between the canyon of whimsical and eerie. 

As the titular character, Jim Hopkins gives a haunting portrayal of a man descending into madness, filling each moment with nuance all the way up until the shocking final scene. Justin McCombs (Saturninus) elegantly captures the narcissistic and self-serving Saturnius while Miranda McGee, playing the fallen queen Tamora, balances well-paced humor with relentless drive for bloodshed. Patrick Earl Phillips and Jude Walker, playing Demetrius and Chiron, respectively, embrace the strong physicality of their characters while Darnell Pierre Benjamin (Aaron the Moor) effectively captures the audience’s attention with his sharp and poignant monologues.


Possibly the funniest tragedy I have ever witnessed, the mood fluxuates along a wide spectrum of emotion. Funny, scary, and, at times, sincerely heartbreaking, “Titus Andronicus” is an emotional rollercoaster. Throughout the show, I found myself laughing, gasping, and wincing as the cast, with seeming effortlessness, breezed through a near two and a half hours of stage time. I have officially been converted to gospel Shakespeare as long as Cincinnati Shakespeare Company is putting on the show.  “Titus Andronicus” plays through November 2nd. Tickets can be purchased here or by calling (513)381-2273.