KNOW’S ‘PULP’ SQUEEZES COMEDY INTO FILM NOIR MYSTERY
Posted On June 23, 2017
The featured drink sets the mood for Pulp at Know Theatre: a generous serving of Maker’s Mark with a candy cigarette garnish. In the play, too, there is something for the hard-core whodunit crowd, with a splash of camp.
This National New Play Network Rolling World Premier is a “genre-bending” entertainment. It starts as a mystery, but, to paraphrase Winston Churchill, it is wrapped in a sci-fi, inside a romance, next to an episode of the original Batman. There is a lot to pack into a little over two hours, but once again the team at Know Theatre has created a greatly entertaining evening.
Producing Artistic Director Andrew Hungerford, friends with playwright Joseph Zettlemaier, makes sure all the actors are on the same page and deftly moves the mystery/comedy/film noir along at a great pace. The script is solidly entertaining, full of plot twists, packed with witty one liners, and sprinkled with sight gags. There are just a few slow spots in the first act, but the second act keeps you guessing as the mystery unfolds.
Frank Ellery, delightfully deadpanned by Paul Riopelle, is a private dick hired to find the killer among four pulp fiction writers of romance, sci-fi, horror, and heroics. All have a motive, and all are unique. Justin McCombs as Walter Kingston-Smith conjures a disconnected caped-crusader, and is the most interesting of a stellar cast. Maggie Lou Rader delivers the femme fatale role, poured into a tight red number, reminiscent of Jessica Rabbit. Dylan Shelton as R.A. Lyncroft hilariously channels the scariest of your black and white horror flicks. Darnell Pierre Benjamin as Bradley Rayburn successfully brings the wacky sci-fi writer back from the future.
Costumes by Noelle Johnson set the perfect tone. Sarah Beth Hall’s set is simple, but effective. Hungerford’s lighting is dramatic and angled, appropriate to the genre.
Bring your friends to laugh out loud at this comedy, but listen intently to the clues hidden throughout. Pulp plays through October 29. Tickets are available by calling 513-300-KNOW or knowtheatre.com