By Robert Hewett
Directed by Joseph Hanreddy
At Writers’ Theatre, Books on Vernon space, Glenccoe
Tour de force performance by Deborah Staples packs emotional wallop
Writers’ Theatre, at its quite intimate space in the back of the book store, has offered several powerful one or two person shows over the years. This time they have mounted The Blonde, the Brunette and the Vengeful Redhead first performed at the old Milwaukee Rep Theatre reuniting director Joseph Hanreddy and actress Deborah Staples to do Robert Hewett’s one=person thriller.
The combination of playwright Robert Hewett’s taught script that features one actress playing sever roles including a four-year old boy and a nasty adult male and the interview -style direct-to-the-audience makes for an engrossing night of theatre. Linda Buchanan’s smart set has seven doors used by Staples to change costumes, wigs and persona to tell the story of thwarted housewife Rhonda Russell. Hewett has crafted his thriller through the eyes of seven folks as each both interprets and explains the many different sides of what happened when Rhonda lost herself in a moment of passion after getting a phone call from her husband announcing that he has left her and will not return.
We find out the story as the seven characters weave facts with opinions clouded in personal bias. Deborah Staples is so convincing as each character that we easily “see” each. From the vengeful redhead to the manipulative neighbor to the slob husband to the innocent four-year old boy and onward to the butch doctor to the old lady, Deborah Staples quickly, before our eyes, becomes each in a remarkable truthful transformation. This is tour de force acting if there ever was any! The story contains fully developed characters that Staples totally inhibits thus rendering Hewett’s script with enough thrust and honesty that we maintain our interest throughout. Both the writings and the acting are spot on as Hewett’s wit, compassion and action comes across as probably despite the unbelievable series of events that ripple from Rhonda’s wild revengeful antics.
We see how each character finds their own truth as to what happened and why rendering the gray areas contained in actions to be revealed. Hewett vividly demonstrates that often truth is subject to interpretation. He also shows on we often rationalize facts to fit our purposes and our biases.
The Blonde, the brunette and the Vengeful Redhead is fabulous theatre that begs to be seen. You’ll be hard pressed to find a finer, more complete and varied performance by one actor that Deborah Staples offers in her enthralling performance. You’ll be surprised impressed at the transformation from vengeful to redemption by major characters in this powerful drama.
Talk Theatre in Chicago podcast
Date Reviewed: May 30, 2012
For more info checkout The Blonde, the Brunette and the Vengeful Redhead page at theatreinchicago.com
At Writers’ Theatre, 664 Vernon Ave., (at the Books on Vernon Bookstore), Glencoe, IL, call 847-242-6000, www.writerstheatre.org, tickets $45 – $65, Tuesdays at 7:30 pm, Wednesdays at 2 & 7;30 pm, Thursdays and Fridays at 8 pm, Saturdays at 4 & 8 pm, Sundays at 2 & 6 pm, running time is 2 hours, 15 minutes with intermission, through July 29, 2012