BWW Review: THE BOOK OF US at Cadmium Company
Missoula has had a great arts community for many years, and with the arrival of the Cadmium Company, that legacy will surely continue. The newly-formed theater group is composed of University of Montana students and alumni. Their current production is The Book of Us, a new play by local playwright and University of Wisconsin-Madison PhD student Joshua Kelly.
The play is wonderfully directed by recent UM MFA graduate Natasha Conti, who we reviewed during her amazing performance in The Madwoman of Chaillot at the University's Masquer Theatre.
The play is being performed in the basement of a private residence which has been configured into a black box theater very similar to the Masquer, with audience members watching from both sides.
"The opportunity to do a boutique house show - and to bring Kelly's second full-length play to life - was one that couldn't be passed up," Conti said. "The intimate nature of a show on location means the audience members are literally inches away from the actors. There's no room for pretense, and that kind of theatre is fascinating."
The play examines the relationship between a young writer, his steadfast boyfriend, and his intermittent girlfriend. Zachary French turns in a Tony-worthy performance as Xavier, the young writer, who must re-evaluate the nature of his relationships with Jacob, played by Thain Bertin, and Hadley, played by Brit Garner. Jasmine Sherman portrays Jacob's sister, Jennifer, in a supporting role.
The performances of the ensemble are equally breathtaking, but it is the riveting performance of French that is truly memorable. Nevertheless, every cast member truly shines in their respective roles, and as a result, the audience will have a treasure trove of amazing moments to look back on.
Annika Hanson composed the music and does an outstanding job of playing background guitar, adding the perfect musical backdrop for the play. Stage Manager Aaron Turner was likewise outstanding in his technical support.
The play continues at 8 p.m. on July 13 and 14. Tonight is sold out but there are still tickets available for Saturday. Tickets are a suggested $5 donation at the door, and reservations are available by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. The lobby opens at 7:30 p.m. and seating begins at 7:45 p .m. There is no late seating.
Audience discretion is advised as the play contains adult themes, language, and nudity. Seating is limited so audience members are encouraged to reserve seats early. You don't want to miss this play.