BWW Reviews: THE FIREBUGS from STAGEright Theatre
Seattle's STAGEright Theatre is currently presenting the peculiar morality play, "The Firebugs" at Odd Duck Studio on Capitol Hill. A gritty little play about trying to outwit evil, the show is a quirky and fun game of cat and mouse that leaves you no wiser but wary.
This Brechtian "morality play without a moral" (as the program says), originally written in 1953 by German playwright Max Frisch and then subsequently translated by Mordecai Gorelik, focuses on a town besieged by arsonists. It seems that these "Firebugs" work their way into staying in the homes for a bit all the while plotting their destruction. But homeowner Biedermann (Rob Hinds) claims he could never be duped by these people. But then along comes Schmitz (Taylor Richmond) who cleverly talks his way into the home followed swiftly by his partner Eisenring (Zandi Carlson). Eventually Biedermann and his high strung wife Babette (Ariel Lauryns) in their efforts to outwit these con men, have their own bravado used against them by these men and end up literally supplying the pair with the means to demolish their lives. And all of this is under the watchful eye of a chorus of firemen intent on protecting the town from its own residents and who also double as other characters in the tale (Sophia Federighi, Kristin Alexander, Niclas R. Olson and Anna Giles).
Wonderfully directed in a very limited space by John R. Huddlestun, the show manages a light and clever air looking at a morose subject. The ensemble of Firemen is great especially Alexander who leads the crew with equal parts force and foreboding. Hinds and Lauryns shine as the less than worthy couple who have their own wits used against them. And Richmond and Carlson are delectable as the clever duo who wants nothing more than to burn the place down. Carlson commands every moment with intention and focus and Richmond is adorable as the slightly dim (but still smarter than their dupes) follower. Richmond was kind of the Laurel to Carlson's Hardy, if you will, but with much more dire schemes.
If STAGEright keeps producing fun and interesting pieces like this, then they are sure to become a stellar addition to the landscape of fringe theater in the area. So if verbal games of keep-away are your thing then be sure to catch "The Firebugs" before they disappear into a puff of smoke. But not to worry, Odd Duck Studio has plenty of fire extinguishers and the exits are clearly marked.
"The Firebugs" from STAGEright Theatre performs at Odd Duck Studio through March 26th. For tickets or information visit them online at www.seattlestageright.org.
Photo Credit: Stock Stucker