BWW Review: SLEUTH at Fulton Theatre
Mum's the word... SLEUTH is playing at The Fulton Theatre's Groff Theatre! The show is running now through Sunday, October 29th. This production is directed by Andrew Kindig and stars Warren Kelley (Andrew Wyke); Michael Ziabinger (Milo Tindle); Albert Reid (Inspector Doppler); Jack Edward (Police Constable Higgs); and Jerry Marr (Detective Sergeant Tarrant).
The set is fantastically designed by WilLiam James Mohney. With every detail carefully constructed, one walks directly into the drawing room of a home that has the feel of a professor's grotto, while keeping one at the distance to that of an unwelcomed relative for Thanksgiving dinner. There are so many objects, paintings and decor to allow your eyes to feast on but do so as though something unseen is watching. The room has a masculine style to it but definitely has the touch of a woman scattered throughout. One can almost envision the feminine placement of the fragile figurines on the mantel to be sure a woman's presence is not ignored.
Josh Schlader's lighting design is top-notch. The set is full of various sizes and shapes of objects hung on walls and placed on surfaces, and furniture, large and small, that are placed front and back-to the audience. With Schlader's lighting design, every inch of the stage illuminated with clarity and energy. There was not a shadow to be seen, unless it was intentional.
As Director, Kindig orchestrates his actors within a confined space with elegance. The necessary physically movements from the actors never felt stifled. Blocking an entire play in such a space without the audience feeling dizzy from repetition movements from the actors, is commendable and Kindig does so with finesse.
Normally with such a small cast, it is unusual for one or two actors to stand out. Instead, a director will strive for uniformity to promote an ensemble performing as one. In this show, however, it is hard not to notice two: Warren Kelley and Michael Zlabinger. As Andrew Wyke, Kelley creates a persona of precision; deliberately inhibiting a controlled and methodical being. He does not waiver from his committed demeanor and interacts with himself and others as though he were orchestrating a symphony. There are moments that Kelley could take a longer beat after questioning another character, allowing for a more savoring response. Also, a bit more slurring of body movement and/or speech would be effective given the amount of drinking involved during the show. When Kelley emotes anger or implied empathy, it is written all over his face and with great conviction. His internal dialogue is screaming and one can hear every word.
The performance by Michael Zlabinger is a standout. Zlabinger allows Milo to ease into his being. Zlabinger's Milo slowly simmers and emits elements of sometimes pleasant and sometimes rancid flavors. When Milo and Andrew are dialoguing, Andrew stirs the pot of Milo's stew. The conflicts and resolutions encountered by the two together are gratifying and frustrating at the same time, which makes for a great amount of chemistry.
There are noticeable nuisances throughout the play that work very well. At the top of Act One, Andrew is pounding the keys of a typewriter; at the top of Act Two, symphonic music is playing, with each action matching one rhythmic tempo. There are profound and witty statements. When Andrew tells Milo he grants him permission to pursue his wife, Milo is taken by surprise that Andrew would get rid of his wife so easily. Andrew sheepishly pronounces, "Sex is the game. Marriage is the penalty." Andrew's pronouncement is Milo's new reality.
SLEUTH is filled with excellent performances and incidents which lead to "the anguish of the innocent man." Who is the innocent man is the question. The answer can only be found by attending this wonderful production.
Performances now through October 29th.
For tickets contact The Fulton at 717-397-7425 or visit theFulton.org Photo by: Kinectiv