Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: Cleveland & Akron

Misery
Great Lakes Theater
Review by David Ritchey

Also see Mark's review of Musical Thrones: A Parody of Ice and Fire


Andrew May and Kathleen Pirkl Tague
Photo by Roger Mastroianni
Murder holds our attention when the story takes us somewhere we've never been. The reader becomes a fan, as some people become a movie fan or a performer's fan. I've read most of Jo Nesbo's murder mysteries and have become one of his greatest fans. I think he's one of the best storytellers who kill characters in the literary world today. In Misery, now at the Hanna Theatre for Great Lakes Theater, a fan of a writer goes too far.

Paul Sheldon (Andrew May) is known for writing the Misery Chastain mysteries. He and his "number one fan" meet after he is injured when his car runs off a snow and ice packed mountain and is almost killed. Annie Wilkes (Kathleen Pirkl Tague) rescues him and takes him to her cabin. She is excited to find her favorite author and he is pleased she is a retired nurse who knows how to care for him.

The action takes place on a summer porch where Paul has a small bed, a table for his food, and a place to store his medicine and the tools she needs to give him shots. Annie is happy in this situation. Paul wants to get back home to New York, his manager, and his daughter. Annie wants to hold him at her place. Unfortunately, no one knows Paul is being held captive on Annie's porch. His legs are broken and he has no way to escape. She seems to want a romantic relationship. She read in an issue of People about a romantic adventure he had with a model, and Annie wants to keep him to herself.

Buster (Nick Steen) is the local Sheriff. He stops at Annie's house in hopes Annie may know something of Paul's disappearance. But he doesn't pick up a clue on his first visit to the cabin.

Stephen King wrote the novel "Misery" and William Goldman wrote the stage adaptation. The motion picture, which came before the play, earned an Academy Award for Kathy Bates.

Even compared to Bates, Kathleen Pirkl Tague holds her own as the powerful Annie. She permits the audience to watch her fall in love with Paul and to dominate him. Her character is kind and considerate but grows tough and dominant in order to keep Paul aware that she is his number one fan and she will define "number one fan" as she wants to define the term.

Nick Steen, an excellent performer, has two short and important scenes as the sheriff. I've been him in other plays and in larger roles. He is the fight captain in Misery and helps hold this story together.

I am pleased Andrew May has returned to the Great Lakes Theater. He plays comedy and humor as well as any performer in the American theater. He seems to enjoy playing physical comedy and lets other men play the romantic leads. May, Tague and Steen make Misery a dynamic audience pleaser.

Misery, through March 11, 2018, in the Hanna Theatre at Playhouse Square, Cleveland OH. For tickets and information, call 216-241-6000 or visit www.greatlakestheater.org. Next up for Great Lakes Theater is Hamlet, running March 29 - April 15, 2018), and next up for writer Jo Nesbo is his own version of Macbeth.

Paul Sheldon: Andrew May
Annie Wilkes: Kathleen Pirkl Tague
Buster: Nick Steen
Movement/Special Effects Director:Jason Tate: Director: Charles Fee
Scenic Designer: Gage Williams
Lighting Director: Paul Miller
Fight Captain: Nick Steen


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