|Everything Comes Together in Richmond Hill’s "Fatal Attraction"|
|Theatre - Reviews|
|Written by Jill Walsh|
|Tuesday, 13 August 2002 18:00|
After seeing the Friday night performance of Richmond Hill Barn Theatre’s latest murder mystery, Fatal Attraction, one line stood out: “The American public will accept anything except being bored.” Audiences don’t have to worry, because there’s no room for boredom during Bernard Slade’s two-and-a-half-hour thriller. The action is almost non-stop, the characters are engaging, and the technical elements give the show a nice finishing touch.
Fatal Attraction, of course, is also the title of a popular 1987 film, but this is a completely different story. Blair Griffin (Melissa Adams), an attractive middle-aged actress, is in the process of divorcing her husband, Morgan Richards (Reggie Jarrell). After he is murdered by Tony (Ken Ohr), a member of the paparazzi who has been interested in Blair’s life for almost 20 years, detectives are summoned to interrogate the actress.
Head cop Gus Braden – a rugged, middle-aged charmer – discovers, along with the audience, some interesting relationships involving Blair. And she’ll do whatever it takes to protect her secrets from the media. From here, love, deceit, cunning, and sex appeal take over the story.
Aside from the plot, Craig Michaels is a major reason, if not the reason, to see Fatal Attraction. The moment he steps on stage, it is apparent why he was chosen for the lead male role. His Bogart-ian accent, cunning witticisms, and nonchalant movements all appear natural and unforced. Michaels serves as the center the other actors hold on to.
Melissa Adams plays Blair as the character is intended to be portrayed – a seductive, attractive waif who shows little emotion and is sometimes unbelievable. Adams’ downfall is the lack of feeling and variety she puts into her character, because, even though Blair has been a practicing actress for years, it’s sometimes apparent that Adams is forcing lines straight from the script. But overall, she fits the character well, and carries herself confidently, which makes it easier to overlook any stumbling.
Denise Yoder and Ken Ohr both contribute nicely to the action, Yoder as the tag-a-long cop and Ohr as the photographer with an obsession with Blair. The only poor casting choice was Lindsay Weisser as Blair’s agent. She’s not bad as an actress but is much too young for the role.
Speaking of age, Fatal Attraction is being dubbed an “adult thriller” for reasons involving key plot twists, and also because Adams is traipsing around in satin nightgowns and undergarments for half of the show. There are also some moments of sexual humor between Gus and the female characters – but the talk is kept pretty clean compared to language found in other media. The level of actual on-stage intimacy is also very slight.
Only two scenes can be remotely described as “shocking,” one made all the more impressive by lighting effects. During the scene, the only visual access is by a faint light cast on the floor from a “skylight” above.
This is just one example of an innovative technical aspect that elevates Fatal Attraction, which is also distinguished by strong acting. It’s not high art, but it isn’t distasteful, either. And as a murder mystery, all the elements are intact.
Fatal Attraction continues August 15, 16, 17, and 18 at Richmond Hill Barn Theatre in Geneseo. Performances are at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, with Sunday’s performance at 4 p.m. Because of the nature of the production, no one under 16 will be admitted. For ticket reservations, visit (http://www.rhplayers.com) or call (309)944-2244.
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