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Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The Stranger and Ludlow Quinn, Chapter Three: The Sorcerer's Society



Eli Keel, Scott Anthony, Leah Roberts, Douglas Scot Sorenson &
Becca Willenbrink in The Stranger and Ludlow Quinn. Photo – Theatre[502].


Written by Diane Grisanti and Steve Moulds

Directed by Gil Reyes
Reviewed by Keith Waits
Entire contents copyright 2013 by Keith Waits, all rights reserved.

In the third chapter of Diana Grisanti and Steve Mould's serial play, the action opens with a very funny parody of the sort of local television commercial that used to appear with some frequency several years ago, and can still turn up on occasion. Amatuerishly produced and antically performed by the store owner, it was a staple for local stations beginning back in the 1960s. Its purpose here is to introduce the proprietor of Murray's, a magic shop located at 12th and Jefferson (don't go looking for it – it's fictional). Bonnie Burke takes the book left by Ludlow Quinn there to hopefully find insight as to whether its magical properties are genuine.

There is perhaps slightly less narrative development in this episode, although the bar was set fairly high by the incident-packed introductory chapters; and at some point it makes sense to allow the story a little room to breathe. Leah Robert's titular mysterious stranger returns as narrator, and Douglas Scot Sorenson is having way too much fun as Murray (or was that his real name?). He is a hoot and a half. Becca Willenbrink holds up in her third appearance as Bonnie. But for the moment, she suffers the fate of many protagonists who demand audience identification, and the character is treading water here. Alexandria Sweatt makes a confident first appearance in the saga as Bonnie's new friend and member of The Sorcerer's Society. Scott Anthony is mostly on the sideline, although he has a couple of choice comic moments, including a sly background joke that I took as a reference to the pencil-thin mustache he sported in the previous chapters. 

A tidy synposis is again managed with little fuss, and I would still characterize this a serial that one can join at any time, although I am curious to see how long the creative team can maintain that accessibility. It is only natural to assume that at some point the narrative will start resolving some questions and move far enough away from the introductory segments that newcomers may feel a little lost. Still, we are only a quarter of the way through and there is plenty of time to build even more mystery and intrique into what is shaping up at this point to be Bonnie's story, a modern-day Nancy Drew with a supernatural twist, although I am hoping for some flashbacks that bring the return of Ludlow Quinn.

New chapters are scheduled to arrive on First Fridays each month through April 2014 performed at 7 p.m., 8 p.m., 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. Admission is free, but donations are welcome.
The Stranger and Ludlow Quinn, Chapter Three: Bonnie Burke Finds a Book
August 2, 2013
Theatre [502] at The Baron's Theatre
131 West Main Street
Louisville, KY 40202
Theatre502.org


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