Our Town?

Another take on anti-gay violence in small-town U.S.A.

Luckily the play's dialogue and action allow this cast to garner a moving performance from the sometimes-uninspiring script. Barbara Sloan's stage confidence and emotional dexterity always keep the attention on her character. She is one of the most consistently professional actresses on the local scene and can always be counted on to give a superb performance. In the case of A Town Like Irving, this is true for the entire cast -- Michael Vines, as Denny Hedges, uses his comedic talent to carve out a poignant interpretation of this more serious role. Ken Clement adds the conflicted redneck Arlin Jasper to his eclectic repertoire, and Kimberly Daniel and David Kwiat generate the sense of small-town unity as Ed and Dodie MacDonald, Rita's sympathetic friends. Stephen Neal smartly works against the possible clichés of his character, Tom Hawkins, a well-meaning deputy who is obviously smitten with Rita.

Rich Simone's set design effectively communicates the town feel and Greg Sendler's sophisticated original music and sound design make for a striking contrast with the set's folksy vibe. Most promising is the fact that McKeever completed this work and New Theatre produced it in this particularly global historical moment. It reaffirms the importance that on a local level, we see hate beyond the form of white-hooded sheets and home videos of Osama bin Laden, and this is a step in the right direction.

Ken Clement, Barbara Sloan, and Kimberly Daniel locked in small-town America
Ken Clement, Barbara Sloan, and Kimberly Daniel locked in small-town America

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