BWW Reviews: Spark Theater Presents REBECCA - Menacingly Good!
One of the things that I adore most about this theater company is they are constantly evolving and they learn from their mistakes. I noted that in their previous show that it was a little half done and not thought through completely. REBECCA dots every "i" and crosses every "t" and made for a thoroughly enjoyable evening of suspense. This menacing show is full of lovely British wit and great writing that transports that audience into the story and sweeps them away in the plot. The humor of Bea Lacy, the innocence of I, the guilt of Maxim de Winter and the insane intensity of Mrs. Danversall helped to build this fantastic show. I loved the use of the servants Frith (Dell Dominik) and Alice (Carolyn Cakir) that kept the scenes moving with continuous motion in cleaning and dusting. One thing that I noticed was the lack of pauses, which are crucial in building that suspense, although they did a great job with reactions and building of those many secrets. One perfect example was when I comes out into the ball for the big reveal in a controversial gown. It needed a pause, a giant gasp and then reactions instead of going straight to the defense. Act II really hit the ground running, but Mrs. Danvers needed a cackle when she entered after her devious deeds. The next scene between Mrs. Danvers and I was so intense that I could not take my eyes off of it and Max ultimately drew you in when he described killing Rebecca and everything building up to that murderous moment. I don't think I could breathe in that last scene when Mrs. Danvers gets that last laugh. Seriously - job well done and wonderfully executed!
The set design was just about as menacing and larger that life as the show. I adored the antique furniture that filled this intimate 40-seat theater and the gorgeous fireplace that was the focal point. The mirrors on opposite sides of the stage was a very nice touch that provided unique, reflective vantage points for the audience. I also found it fascinating that they even built stairs in the back of the theater to build height to this one level stage. The subtle transformation from the dingy musty room into a space that is full of life was a very nice touch with just the addition of flowers. Michael Emmitt, who envisioned this set and directed the show was on the top of his game in this production. Every aspect from the set, to the special effects, to the wonderful acting provided optimal suspense and a great homage to the genius that is Hitchcock. Costumes were fabulous and respected the range from the formal from master and servant, to the gaudy worn by the Lacy's to the masquerade ball. The sound design by Gabriel Walker provided sinister voice overs and great sound effects. While I felt a chill in the beginning of the show when they started the entire first monologue in a blackout, the final scene needed to dim faster (as soon as she lit the match) so that all that was illuminated was Mrs. Danvers eerie glow.
From This Author Michael Mulhern