Full disclosure time…I am a huge fan of ACCOMPLICE. I “discovered” the play years ago when I was browsing through the Samuel French catalogue, and was fortunate enough to be part of two different productions of the play. Both productions, coincidentally, also involved one of the cast members of the Steel River production. That being said, I promise to be as objective as I can be. Feel free to read this review with a skeptical eye.
ACCOMPLICE is a very difficult play to write anything about…you can say little or nothing about the plot without giving away a secret that is best left discovered at the show. Even the play description in the catalogue gives away too much information. All I will say is that the play opens in the moorland cottage of Derek and Janet Taylor. They are preparing for a weekend with Derek’s business partner John and John’s wife Melinda. We soon discover that the couple is not happily married, with Janet in particular dissatisfied with her situation. How that progresses, and the multiple plot twists that take place, are the fun that cannot be divulged and must be experienced.
I can’t even say too much about the individual cast members, aside from mentioning names: Paul Dake, Shawneen Rowe, Anthony Marsala, and Andrea Frassoni. There are two standbys (unusual for this kind of show), Antonia Wilson and Jason Del Gato. The cast that appeared on the evening I attended did a great job with their characters. The interplay among the couples was very good, more intense in places than I have seen before…director Taylor Darden accentuates the bitterness between the various couples to good effect.
The play is staged in the Newberry Loft at Steel River, the upstage venue with minimal lighting and sound effects available, and an immobile set. The production didn’t suffer from the lack of these elements, although ACCOMPLICE veterans will miss some of the classic bits from the show. The show moves along briskly until the final scene, where the last plot twist brings the show’s pace to a crawl. Hopefully this can be corrected, as it does affect the overall appreciation of the show.
I wish I could go into more detail, but I (along with every audience member) have been sworn to secrecy. I cannot betray any confidences that will ruin your appreciation of the plot of this well-crafted story. This is an extremely short-run production…it closes this Sunday. Make your reservations now.
Mystery/Thriller by Rupert Holmes
Directed by Taylor Darden
November 1-10, 2013
Steel River Playhouse
245 E High Street
Pottstown, PA 19464