- Katie Kelley
High Emotion A proposed settlement from an officer-involved shooting leads to a Pulitzer Prize–winning drama in 'Between Riverside & Crazy.'
Local theaters seem to be in a New York state of mind with two very different shows set in the Big Apple running on North Bay stages. 6th Street Playhouse brings the somewhat ironically titled Wait Until Dark to their Monroe Stage while Left Edge Theatre places their audiences somewhere Between Riverside and Crazy.
Wait Until Dark–playwright Frederick Knott only wrote three plays, but two of the three (the other being Dial M for Murder) became theatre standards. Film adaptations led to increased audience familiarity with the material, robbing them of a bit of the suspense Knott built into his scripts.
Photographer Sam Hendrix (Steve Cannon) unwittingly transports a child's doll full of heroin from Canada to New York and leaves it in the care of his sight-impaired wife Susi (Olivia Marie Rooney). Soon a trio of very nefarious gentlemen (Ezra Hernandez, Matt Witthaus, Justin Thompson) arrive on the scene determined to get the doll surreptitiously by playing a deadly game of impersonation.
Director Meghan Hakes' cast works well here, but lighting-designer Vincent Mothersbaugh is the show's MVP. Without giving too much away, lighting plays a big role in this play, and Mothersbaugh delivers.
Playwright Stephen Adly Guirgis's Between Riverside and Crazy won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and a stack of theater awards. An odd mixture of comedy and drama, at its heart it's a story of families—father/son, son/fiancé, father-figure/son and the "brotherhood" of law enforcement.
Retired New York City police officer Walter "Pops" Washington (Corey Jackson) lives in a rent-controlled apartment with his recently paroled son Junior (Sam Ademola), his son's fiancé Lulu (Pilar Gonzales) and their friend Oswaldo (Jared Wright).
Walter's former partner Audrey (Sandra Ish) and her fiancé Lt. Dave Caro (Mike Schaeffer) try to get Walter to sign off on a settlement agreement stemming from a shooting. The powers they represent aren't above threatening Walter with the loss of his home to get his signature. Walter, who always seems pissed, gets really pissed.
It's a solid production, and credit director Argo Thompson for bringing some theatrical diversity—both in casting and subject matter—to the area.
Rating for both (out of 5):★★★½
'Between Riverside and Crazy' runs through Nov. 10 at Left Edge Theatre. 50 Mark West Springs Road, Santa Rosa. Thu–Sat, 8pm; Sun., 2pm. $15–$42. 707.536.3600. leftedgetheatre.com 'Wait Until Dark' runs through Nov. 10 on the Monroe Stage at 6th Street Playhouse, 52 W. Sixth St., Santa Rosa. Thu–Sat, 7:30pm; Sat–Sun, 2pm. $18–$29. 707.523.4185. 6thstreetplayhouse.com