[Theater Review] I'm a "less-is-more" kind of guy. Whereas much contemporary live theater seems to be taking Hollywood’s lead with big special effects, gauche gimmicks and stunt casting, Pinnacle Acting Company has chosen to go the other way with their production of Frank McGuinness’s Someone Who'll Watch Over Me. The show is a testament to the simple power of talented actors working with a good script in an intimate space. It's everything that live theater can and should be.
An Irishman, and Englishman and an American are being held hostage in Beirut. No, it’s not a bad joke; it’s three men chained by the ankle to cinder blocks in the middle of a room. We see them traverse the full spectrum of human emotional terrain from boredom to visceral grief to dark and absurd humor as they all go a little bit mad. I swear, you will never laugh so hard at a play about fundamentalist terrorism.
The fewer-than-50 seats in the theater are arranged on either side of the not-quite stage in facing rows. In this unusual configuration, no patron is ever more than a few feet from an actor; high drama plays out quite literally at your feet. More than once, I had to lean back because I was afraid I had invaded an actor’s personal space. I almost kicked somebody.
All of this came together to create one of the best theater-going experiences I’ve had in a long time. With not quite a whole year behind them, Pinnacle Acting Company has a bright future—assuming they continue to stick to the basics.
Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me concludes its run Jan. 17-19 at Sugar Space, located at 616 E. Winchester (2190 South). (Rob Tennant)