Peer Down into the Rabbit Hole

March 17, 2008 at 9:03 pm | Posted in Review, Theater | Comments Off on Peer Down into the Rabbit Hole
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Rabbit Hole Heartbreakingly beautiful – that’s how I would describe Rabbit Hole, the latest production in the Studio series of Repertory Theatre of St. Louis. This Pultizer Prize winning play by David Lindsay-Abaire depicts the unique suffering endured by parents who have lost a child. A topic like the death of a child can be risky; its difficult to avoid sentimentality or heavy-handedness; this production manages to pull it off with rawness and with grace. The old cliche “you’ll laugh, you’ll cry” is unapologetically true of this difficult story. One thing is for sure, if you allow yourself to be swept up into the story, you’ll leave exhausted and devastated – but also thoroughly satisfied.

The performances were quite impressive all around. Caroyln Swift was a powerhouse as the sassy Nat; she was hilarious without resorting to a caricature, and she conveyed deep sorrow without being chessy or pathetic. Victoria Adams-Zischke and Timothy McCracken were just marvelous as the grief-stricken parents – they mastered the whole range of emotions, from fear to rage to numbness with gritty reality. Ashley West at times needed to turn it down just a notch, but overall she was solid. Special congratulations to Adam King, student at the Webster Conservatory of Theatre Arts, for his finely-tuned performance.

This was not a perfect production. But its excellence far outweighs any flaws that I could point out. And frankly, when such fine performances are wedded to a sacred subject, nit-picking would feel petty and inappropriate.

Rabbit Hole runs through March 30th at the Emerson Studio Theatre in the Loretto-Hilton Center.

*As a reminder – students can get rush tickets on all Rep shows that haven’t sold out for $8.00 with a valid student ID one half-hour before the production begins. You can’t beat that deal with a stick.


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