Review: THE MOUNTAINTOP Opens at Edmonton's Citadel Theatre

Performances run until April 21.

By: Apr. 07, 2024
Review: THE MOUNTAINTOP Opens at Edmonton's Citadel Theatre
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April 3, 1968. Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. settles in for the night in his shabby motel room. He orders a cup of coffee, which is delivered by the outspoken housekeeper. So begins The Mountaintop, a riveting 2009 drama by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, Katori Hall.

Portraying an influential historical figure is a formidable feat, but Ray Strachan makes it look effortless. Often, his performance is surprisingly humorous, showcasing a different side of the steadfast Dr. King. Unlike in his public appearances, Dr. King showcases a dry sense of humour, sports a holey sock, and pleads with the Lorraine Motel’s bemused housekeeper, Camae (Patricia Cerra), for cigarettes. Strachan also portrays King as the impassioned activist he was; in many scenes, King meticulously writes, re-writes, and rehearses his fateful final speech.

Like Strachan, his co-star, Patricia Cerra, delivers a masterful performance. She is a hoot as the brash, yellow-clad housekeeper, Camae, with whom Dr. King banters and discusses everything from the civil rights movement to theology. However, as the stormy spring night wears on, Dr. King- and the audience- gradually learns there is much more to Camae than meets the eye.

Though the production features only two performers, the setting is almost a character in its own right. John C. Dinning’s set brings to life the humble, earth-hued Room 306 and features the towering Lorraine Motel sign behind it. Dave Clarke’s sound design evokes the incessant patter of torrential rain that persists for much of the show. Other technical elements include striking video montage projections by Amelia Scott.

Compelling and unforgettable, The Mountaintop plays at the Citadel’s Maclab Theatre until April 21.

Photo: Patricia Cerra and Ray Strachan in The Mountaintop, Citadel Theatre. Photo by Nanc Price.


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