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Theater Info for Maryland

Cockpit in Court Summer Theatre The Edge of Darkness

By • Aug 3rd, 2011 • Category: Reviews
The Edge of Darkness
Cockpit in Court Summer Theatre
CCBC-Essex, Baltimore, MD
Through August 7th
2:30 with two intermissions
$28/$24 Seniors and Alumni
Reviewed July 29th, 2011

There is nothing like a well-constructed mystery that keeps you spinning theories in your head from beginning to end. The Edge of Darkness does exactly that, and, in the very capable hands of Cockpit in Court Summer Theatre, this production is well worth seeing. It is best that you know as little about the plot of the show as possible to keep you on the edge of your seat as intended. Strong performances, excellent pacing, and a beautiful set design bring this piece to life with deep emotional content and a touch of class. There are a few minor missteps, but the overall production far outshines the imperfections.

Susan Liberati (Laura Cranwell) gives one of the most beautiful and nuanced performances. Her character is so well-crafted that the different layers of Laura’s personality, secrets, and pain roll out in a hauntingly natural way. It was an actual perfect performance that gave the entire piece a deep core from which to begin. Thom Peters (Max Cranwell) was also quite good. He has a great charm about him, but he was also able to switch and show the other sides of his character. Ashley Fain (Emma) was another excellent performance. She could convey complex and often contradictory emotions all at the same time. All three actors just seemed to really embody their characters, and that investment led to audience investment which just furthered the connection to the story.

Neena Boyle (Penny) was a comedic gem. A few times, she went a little over the top, but, for the most part, she continued to provide high-energy comic relief in a believable manner. She, like the three mentioned above, also perfected an appropriate British accent. Boyle’s accent was also appropriately more lower-class than that of the Cranwells.

On the other hand, Ted Burke (Livago) really struggled with his Russian accent. The accent combined with his very large acting really made his character more of a caricature, especially when contrasted with the subtlety of the others on stage. It worked out, because of the nature of his character and was not hugely distracting, but the role could have had more depth and believability even within the short scene.

However, the real weakness in the cast was Bobby Romadka, III (Hardy). Although he had an excellent look for the role, he was extremely flat and forced and just generally inauthentic. He also could not get an English accent. A few times, he seemed to attempt one without much success. Sometimes, parts came out as Southern or even New York Bronx. Luckily, the other principals were so strong that he did not lessen the power of their performances.

The set was simple and beautiful with lots of realistic details and touches. The blocking was well-suited for theatre in the round. The costumes, for the most part, were period-appropriate, beautiful, and well-fitting. The lights and sounds were a bit of overkill many times, however. Not every show benefits from the attempt to have a more intricate lighting and sound design, and the simplicity of this show was occasionally cheapened by the attempt to use lights and sounds where they were not needed. The use of red lighting, many times, at the end of a scene to try and highlight the person who sounded guilty at the end of that scene came across as corny and just too much. The story was so clear that it did not benefit from lighting that was trying to say how to feel or what to think. There was several times too when music started playing in the background of a scene with no real significant beginning or ending point. It was so quiet that you almost had to wonder if it was real or if you were hearing things. This made it seem like a gnat in the room, and it served no purpose. If anything, it had a soap opera-esque quality to it that was really incongruent with the otherwise classy tone and mood of the piece and the performance. The sound and light could have both been really toned down.

Nitpicking aside, it was a great piece with a mostly great cast that is really worth seeing.

Cast

  • Penny: Neena Boyle
  • Hardy: Bobby Romadka, III
  • Emma: Ashley Fain
  • Max Cranwell: Thom Peters
  • Laura Cranwell: Susan Liberati
  • Livago: Ted Burke

Production Team

  • Director: Linda Chambers
  • Technical Director: Nathan Best
  • Set Designer: G. Maurice “Moe” Conn
  • Scenic Artist: Michael Rasinski
  • Lighting Designer: Brad J. Ranno
  • Light/Sound Board Operator: Patricia Sarah Geiger
  • Sound Designer: Brad J. Ranno
  • Costume Designer: James J. Fasching
  • Stage Manager: Patricia Sarah Geiger
  • Set Construction: Nathan Davis, Nathan Best, Hank Meyer, Alicia Secada-Lovio, Deanna Gilmore, Joe Sigal, John Schneider, Matt Norton

Disclaimer: Cockpit in Court Summer Theatre provided two complimentary media tickets to ShowBizRadio for this review.

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has been involved in theatre in the state of Maryland and DC for most of her life. She has acted, directed, choreographed, stage managed, and held a million other odd jobs. She has a B.S. in English from Towson University, and is currently pursuing her Master's Degree to become a Reading Specialist. She is a Maryland State Certified English, Theatre, Elementary, and Mathematics Educator. After teaching English and Drama for many years, she now teaches 6th grade Language Arts at Magnolia Middle School in Harford County, Maryland. She wrote the curriculum currently used in Prince George’s County Public Schools for Drama I and Drama II. She now writes and directs plays and musicals for use in church.

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