BWW Reviews: The Rep's Soaring Production of OPUS
As a rather humble musician myself, I can appreciate the patience and perseverance it takes to keep a group of musicians together for any outstanding period of time. I can also understand how changing one member can effect the dynamics of both the music and the people playing it. That's what makes playwright Michael Hollinger's Opus so fascinating to me. Over the course of about 90 minutes you're taken backstage and onstage in various places,with a full access to the emotions and passions that come forth from, in this instance, a string quartet. The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis has put together a brilliantly spellbinding production that hits just the right note on every occasion.
Just as they're preparing for a very important performance the peculiar Dorian (Matthew Boston) exits the string quarter unexpectedly. Luckily, they find Grace (Rachael Jenison) to replace him, but it will take a while before she settles in, and they have precious little time. First she'll have to deal with the various personalities that inhabit this male-dominated quartet. Elliot (James Joseph O'Neil) becomes more pushy than he was before the new arrival, and Alan (Greg Jackson), dives deeper into the background. Only Carl (Chris Hietikko) seems to be a voice of reason amidst the drama.
Brendon Fox's direction is impeccably focused and assured, and his ensemble does exceptional work throughout. The simple and smart scenic design of James Kronzer allows the story to shine through effectively. Holly Poe Durbin's costumes are generally good character fits, and particularly elegant during the final performance. Patricia Collins adds the lighting scheme, while Rusty Wandall handles the clever sound design.
The Rep's production of Opus received a much deserved ovation, but what this musical tale could really have used was an encore. Go see it!
Opus plays through February 2, 2014 at the Loretto-Hilton.