Thursday, March 1, 2012

Theater Review: And Things That Go Bump in the Night

By Susan Hennessey

As the lights go down, three individuals enter with placards which hide each of their iconic white masks with its individual maddened expression. The placards are turned, revealing Equinox Theatre Company’s inaugural play for their 2012 Season, “And Things that Go Bump in the Night.” The masks are removed, but the madness in their characters remain.

On the set of what is seemingly a living room, you are introduced to a brother, Sigfried (played by Brandon Palmer) and a sister, Lakme (played by Rebecca Morphis), who have just come home from the festivities in the street before their nightly curfew. You learn that the family has dressed their cellar as a more inviting place to pass each evening as they wait for their apocalyptic end that is inevitable. The family is living as nocturnal animals settling in a nightly routine of antics and unpredictable ad hoc performances by their mother, Ruby. The children greatly desire her attention, but she needs quite a bit for herself, so they’ll have to wait. Sarah MacMillan as Ruby has her hands full with this whimsical character and gives a passionate performance. 

This black comedy by Terrence McNally has thrown this cast of characters in these tight quarters to expose the rawness of human nature. It’s a challenging script even today, 50 years after its debut in 1964. Act II offers some answers to the madness of Act I with the introduction of this evening’s nightly visitor lured by the children, and it is then that the audience gets to find out whether or not they have judged these characters correctly. The stranger, Clarence, sure-handedly played by Zak Wziontka, expresses the same questions the audience had earlier, but ultimately, the answers do not get settled, and at the end of the play, things are much more doomful than once perceived.
Or are they?

“And Things That Go Bump in the Night" plays through March 17. Performance dates are Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 PM. With a pay-what-you-can Industry Night on March 8th. Tickets are $15 and are available online at Performances will be at The Bug Theatre – 3654 Navajo Street in Denver. Reservations are accepted at 720-984-0781. This show is recommended for mature audiences.