BWW Reviews: HAMTOWN RACES at the Planet Ant Theatre is a Must-See Production!
Hamtown Races opened at the Planet Ant Theatre in Hamtramck this past weekend and is definitely a must-see for any local theatre lovers. The show is wonderfully put together in the tiny theatre by a great and talented cast, a simple, yet effective set, and a fantastically written script.
The show is written by Margaret Edwartowski of Harper Woods and brings together an interesting group of characters that illustrates the changing demographic of Hamtramck. The show is written well with truthful dialogue and perfect comedic elements. It has an emotional intensity that builds throughout it and really connects the audience to the characters.
The six-member cast interacts very well together. They each make their character interesting and cause the audience to really care for them. Noor and Lolia are the mother and daughter who own the Al Aamir café. Amy Probst and Britta Peele bring the characters to life and work well together as a team with a great bond between the two of them. Probst’s Noor is endearing and really gives of the feeling of love for her daughter, yet she understands how hard the world is. Peele’s Lolia is fresh and young, but strong and determined. Both actresses are very talented and give honest and truthful portrayals of their characters.
Patrick O’Connor Cronin and Rico Bruce Wade steal the show with their witty banter and incredible onstage chemistry with their friendship. Wade’s Jimmy is hilarious with his unconcerned potty mouth and could be just a comedic relief, but instead brings a sincere character to life that the audience cannot help but root for. Cronin’s Dobry is the perfect Polish resident of Hamtramck and stands out with all the little effects that he does within his actions, quick inserted lines, and goofy demeanor. He definitely has some of the best comedic moments of the production and the show would not be the same without him.
Stephen Blackwell and Mike Eshaq round out the rest of the cast. Blackwell plays Matt the awkward, nerdy guy next store. Eshaq plays Kassim, Noor’s husband and Lolia’s father. Blackwell does a great job of making his character awkward, but not enough to turn the audience away. They root for him and his crush on Loilia. Eshaq is phenomenal as Kassim and portrays the role perfectly. The role is complex and throughout the play he does a great job of slowly letting the audience in to understand his character.
Mike McGettigan directed the play brilliantly. Planet Ant is a small and intimate theatre, but his use of the space was done very well. The quaint and simple set of the Al Aamir café was perfect and did not over power the character driven story. He directed the actors well inside the space and it worked out wonderfully. The lighting was also done very well in the small theatre. Kevin Barron did a good job with it to highlight different areas and really add to the action of the play.
Hamtown Races is brilliant show. It is well written, well acted, and just overall well done. It is one piece of Michigan theatre that should not to be missed.
Hamtown Races run through October 13th. For more information or tickets, visit www.planetant.com.