Review by Liz Eichler of Neverwhere: Know Theatre
Know Theatre’s Neverwhere is an epic fish-out-of-water story, except the fish is a man and the water is London. It is an entertaining pastiche of characters and connivers, certain to draw in and satisfy fans of British Sci-Fi and any fantasy genre.
Based on a British mini-series and novel by Neil Gaiman, this adaptation by Robert Kauzlaric, is a mystery about the seedy “underside” of London. Businessman Richard Mayhew rescues an injured woman, Lady Door, and in doing so, he enters the world of “London Below,” encountering a multitude of odd (and dangerous) people and creatures on a journey to discover Door’s father’s murderer, and for Mayhew to return to his life in “London Above.” Englishman Gaiman is also the author of The Sandman comic book series, and novels such as Stardust, American Gods, The Graveyard Book (only book to win both the Newberry and the Carnegie Medal) and Coraline. Almost half of the Sunday afternoon audience were first-timers at Cincinnati’s Know Theatre, many visiting from Dayton and beyond, drawn by title alone to this production, and clearly thrilled with every nuance of its portrayal of beloved characters.
“Neverwhere” is a grand undertaking, as this is a grand and epic story. The cast portrays countless characters on Mayhew’s trek into “London Below” and ensuing search for the key which allows him to return home. Rory Sheridan creates a relatable Richard Mayhew, Ernaisja Curry creates a vulnerable yet regal Lady Door, and Jeremy Dubin commands the stage and captures every essence of Marquis de Carabas and Brother Fulginous. The Messrs. Croup (Sean Metter) and Vandermar (Dylan Shelton) loom wonderfully ominous, as (some of) the villains in this story, and the actors join the rest of the ensemble (Andrew Ian Adams, Brandon Burton, Maggie Lou Rader, Jordan Trovillion, and Chris Wesslesman) scurrying around in the highly choreographed marathon of costume, set, and character changes. There is so much going on, they must be exhausted by the end of the show! Directors Andrew J. Hungerford and Dan Winters have woven a tight story into a tight space. Sarah Beth Hall’s set and props create the seedy subway station environment, and the costumes (Noelle Johnston) and puppets (Brandon Johnston) create the otherworldly fantasy elements.
This is a three-hour show. It is highly physically demanding for the performers, who will certainly only build their energy, and fun with the roles.
If you are unfamiliar with Neverwhere, I recommend you approach it like an opera, and read the synopsis first. It runs at Know Theatre through December 17. Many performances are already sold-out, so get tickets early at www.knowtheatre.org or call 513-300-KNOW for more information.