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BWW Review: Luck would have it with 3rd Act's THE RED LAMP

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3rd Act Theatre Company opens season 3 with comical farce The Red Lamp

BWW Review: Luck would have it with 3rd Act's THE RED LAMP

3rd Act Theatre Company is back in their Northpark Mall location after a break this summer to tour with Drunk Classics: Hamlet with Pirates. They open season 3, UNKNOWN, with The Red Lamp by Hilliard Booth. This cute, short play features an uppity noble family and their mysterious "good luck" lamp from South America. A would-be thief breaks in, in search of food, and when he's caught, man of the house Harold makes him a deal. When his aunt leaves, Harold will light the red lamp and set it in the window. Then the man will know it's safe to return for a plate of food. Little do they know, the lady of the house, as well as her youthful niece, already have plans for the lamp. Aunt Matilda plans to light it for her friend to know when to start the water for tea. Harold's sister Alice wants to see her beloved beau, but her aunt doesn't approve of their match. So, she plans to light the lamp to signal when her aunt leaves, ensuring a secret rendezvous.

Anything goes in this I Love Lucy style comedy, and 3rd Act presents the play with style. Director Christine Jolly makes good use of each scene, drawing out the physical comedy just enough that it creates a funny moment, but doesn't linger too long or grow tired. The action remains steady throughout the show, and the only real drawback to this production is the length. At just an hour and ten minutes, including intermission, the show feels like it's just getting warmed up by the time it ends.

The cast pulls off this fun romp with pizzazz and fortitude, with each actor bringing energy and levity to their respective roles. Keegan Zimmerman is Harold Deering, Allison Sugimoto is Alice Deering, Matthew Moreillon is Archie Clarke, and David Patterson is Bill Worth. Carol McDonald is Annie O'Shane, and Dana Billingsley is Matilda Deering.

Zimmerman is boisterous and warm as Harold, keeping the energy up throughout the night. Sugimoto is perfectly sweet and innocently plotting as Alice. Moreillon is smooth as Mr. Clarke, and makes the best of the confusion that arises. Patterson is the real hero of the story as Bill Worth. Patterson is unassuming as the man who breaks in searching for food. He brings the story of good luck surrounding the lamp, and knows the power of superstition. McDonald is enjoyably kind and agreeable as Annie, the housekeeper and co-conspirator of Alice. The matriarch of the family, and the most composed of all, Aunt Matilda is portrayed with professionalism and poise by Billingsley.

3rd Act is nothing if not comfortable and inviting. The church pews are just right for curling up on during a show. The space is warm and peaceful, and the atmosphere is easy-going and all are welcome in the space.

Few (or none) of the theatres in Oklahoma City come without off-stage drama. Theatres all over this town, both professional and community, are run by toxic, egotistical dictators who destroy the love of live performance for actors, patrons, and reviewers. Not so at 3rd Act.

This theatre company was founded in 2018 precisely to combat the toxicity that is so prevalent in the performing arts industry, and seems to just be getting worse in our tightly knit theatre community. The directors and designers here produce good work, work that is from the heart, and work that keeps the drama on the stage. 3rd Act is the one theatre in Oklahoma City where anyone can go and finally relax, melt even, into the seats to watch a lovely play and know they're finally home. That is what theatre is for, anyway. It's a place for everyone. "Professionals" in this town, and all throughout the performing arts industry, would do well to remember that.

3rd Act always produces quality work, and this time is no different. The Red Lamp is a show worth seeing, from a new theatre company that is well worth supporting. if you go nowhere else for live theatre in Oklahoma City, your one stop should always be 3rd Act Theatre Company.

The Red Lamp runs until September 26th, 2021 at 3rd Act Theatre Company, located at 12040 N. May Ave inside Northpark Mall. The performance on September 26th is streaming only. For tickets, visit 3rdacttheatreco.com.

**Adrienne Proctor is an ad-hoc board member of 3rd Act Theatre Company.**


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