Fine Performances in ANOTHER ROUND at Studio 5

by Walter Bender

Victoria Rose Bonito, Davon Williams and Michael Tamin Yurcaba in a scene from ANOTHER ROUND, running at Walnut Street Theatre Studio 5 through July 2.

ANOTHER ROUND, a new drama, opened Saturday at Studio 5 at the Walnut Street Theatre. ANOTHER ROUND takes place in a “police bar” in an unnamed city, where the inhabitants await the verdict in a trial of a white cop shooting a black teen. The cast consists of Victoria Rose Bonito as Joan, the owner of the bar and daughter of a cop. Michael Tamin Yurcaba is Gutch, a retired cop (the former partner of Joan’s father) who looks at things as “black and white”. Davon William is Tom, the black partner of the cop on trial, who has given testimony absolving his partner of blame. Rounding out the cast is Michael Parducci as Lou, the cop on trial who has had an affair with Joan. Tensions in the city are high with this hot-button trial, and Joan is packing up the mementos to protect them in the event of (threatened) rioting. Gutch comes by to sit in “his” bar stool, drink, and discuss the trial. Tom and Lou come in later, and the discussions and tensions build to a climax. After the verdict, various revelations come out with everyone’s lives changed as a result.

The performances in this production were consistently first-rate, although opening night adrenaline made things move a bit too frenetically in the first act. But, after intermission the cast had settled into their roles and we could see the skill of the actors playing these parts. Extra kudos to Ms. Bonito, whose character had many levels of understanding, wisdom, and compassion, and to Mr. William who has the always-difficult task of discussing racial issues frankly. The direction by Chelsea Sanz allowed the actors to act…perhaps a bit too much at times. A firmer hand might make the first act a bit more disciplined. Lighting and staging were minimal which befits the productions at Studio 5.

This was the Philadelphia premiere of this production. Playwright J. Adam Russell has written a piece that is somewhat formulaic…it plays at times like any TV cop drama. However, the performances are well worth the evening. My congratulations to the cast for their efforts.

by J. Adam Russell
Directed by Chelsea Sanz
June 17 – July 2, 2011
Two Guys Making Theatre
at Walnut Street Theatre –Studio 5
825 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19102

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