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New Theater Corps' Amanda Halkiotis on Rattlers

Thursday, November 20, 2008 Leave a Comment

This review escaped my notice at first, but the intrepid Dr. Watson posted it on Facebook and brought it to my attention. It's a good review of Rattlers written by a new reviewer for the Corps, Amanda Halkiotis, and interestingly, she spells Johnna Adams' name as Johnna Abrams (perhaps an accidental auto-spell check correction?). I have corrected that misspelling, and posted the highlights, along with new pictures, below. Last night we had our biggest house yet, a rocking audience for Rattlers, and we close this Saturday, so get your tickets today!

Reviewed by Amanda Halkiotis, New Theater Corps
This new murder mystery by Johnna Adams is full of quick thrills that keeps its audience guessing. Scene for scene, its snappy dialogue and unique characters make it an edge-of-your seat kind of evening. For those among us who take our comedy black with a twist and a dash of bitters.
(Photo: Justin Hoch. Pictured: Jason Paradine, Amy Lynn Stewart)

Johnna Adams’ Rattlers, the second in a supernatural trilogy, brings Greek tragedy to 1970s Oklahoma. In one corner, a pastor named Osley (Jason Paradine) is kidnapped by his high-school sweetheart Ernelle (Amy Lynn Stewart) and her new beau Snake (Scott Drummond). They want him to use his demonic powers to resurrect Ernelle’s murdered younger sister. Taking center stage, the townie funeral director, Ted (Matthew Crosby), and the big-city, reserved, husband Everett (Richard B. Watson) stand outside a funeral parlor discussing the woman they both loved. Lastly, we have Ernelle’s mother Mattie (Jane Lincoln Taylor), a shrewd, tough-as-nails single mother who spends the evening of her daughter’s wake seeking revenge instead of shedding tears. In an effort to uncover the truth she appeals to Ted’s naïve younger brother Shane (David Jackson), taking full advantage of his obvious crush on her.

(Photo: Justin Hoch. Pictured: David Jackson, Jane Taylor)

The ensemble works well together, creating a sense of consistency across the alternating storylines. Specifically, Richard B. Watson and Amy Lynn Stewart give excellent performances as a widower struggling not to show his grief and a desperate, bereaved sister. A man’s man through and through, right down to the squinty gaze and long cigarette drags, Mr. Watson takes his time with his lines. His use of dry, well-timed punch lines and cocky body language always keep him the center of attention.

(Photo: Justin Hoch. Pictured: Richard B. Watson)

As for Ms. Stewart, when she enters in a clingy halter dress and worn red high heels that make her at least as tall as the other men onstage, she grabs our attention right from the start. With solid eye contact and an unquavering, stubborn tone, she makes known her sadness but keeps it in check enough so it never comes across as weakness.

(Photo: Justin Hoch. Pictured: Amy Lynn Stewart, Scott Drummond)

Ms. Adams’ comic timing and effective one-liners contribute to the quick pace of this short piece. This wit, combined with the play’s empathetic humanity, helps the audience to easily follow the different threads...

(Photo: Justin Hoch. Pictured: (kinda) Matthew Crosby, Richard B Watson)

Overall, Rattlers stands on its own as original theater, taking creative license with its source material instead of simply regurgitating the themes of good and evil. The expert cast and sparkling humor keep this play entertaining, despite the plot’s loose ends. If you’re looking for a quick fix of mysticism and murder with a splash of religion for good measure, you’ll enjoy the wholehearted efforts of the Flux Theater Ensemble.
(Photo: Justin Hoch. Pictured: Scott Drummond, Jason Paradine, Amy Lynn Stewart)


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