BWW Reviews: The Alley's THE MOUNTAINTOP is Powerful and Provocative
Clint Ramos's Scenic and Costume Design is spot-on perfection. The costumes are period appropriate and look fantastic on stage. The set, especially when we get to see the interior of room 306 is nothing short of breathtaking and visually stunning. The detail put into the cross-section work is magnificent. The audience gets to see the inside of the walls. The copper pipe for the bathroom is exposed, the insulation in the ceiling, the cinderblocks that separate the first floor room from the second floor room. Every detail is meticulously in place, visually appealing, and entirely effective.
Japhy Weideman's Lighting Design is wonderfully atmospheric in all the right moments, especially the more tense and compelling parts late in the show. Most of the show occurs in realistic lighting; however, Japhy Weideman transitions the lights beautifully to allow Jeff Sugg's projections to be effective.
Jeff Sugg's projections of rain falling outside the building that run for almost the entirety of the show are simply astounding. Upon entering the auditorium, I could not instantly determine if the rain falling was a projection. That is how visually realistic Jeff Sugg's design on the rain is. Despite his wonderful work on the projections, a few came across as hokey to me. I was not impressed by the snow flurries or the red flower petals. These images did not come across as crisply or uniformly as the others. On the other hand, the surrealist shifting and warping of the walls of room 306 through projections was immaculate and simply stunning.
Lindsay Jones' sound design is fantastic. The only flaw I found was that the first time the actor's voices were manipulated I could not understand a word that was being said. The echo effect and reverberation prevented the words from being discernible. In every other part of the show where the voices were modified and modulated, this was not a problem.
While not a flawless play or production, The Alley's presentation of THE MOUNTAINTOP is an emotionally solid piece of theatre. The last 20 minutes or so of the play are spectacular in their ability to move the audience, reducing ambient noise in the auditorium to utter silence interrupted by stifled sobs. When the audience jumped to their feet and cheered during a long and excited standing ovation, there was no doubt that it was well deserved. If you're looking for something that is sobering and even a little bit eye-opening, THE MOUNTAINTOP is a hot ticket worth buying.
THE MOUNTAINTOP runs on The Alley's Hubbard Stage through February 3, 2013. For more information, please visit http://www.alleytheatre.org or call (713) 220 - 5700.
Photos by Jann Whaley, courtesy of The Alley Theatre.