A Theatre Mirror Reviews - "The Rimers of Eldritch"

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note: entire contents copyright 2004 by Larry Stark

"The Rimers of Eldritch"

by Lanford Wilson
Direct by Weyland Symes

Scenic Design by Kathryn Kawecki
Lighting Design by Jeff Adelberg
Costume Design by Elisabetta Polito
Assistant Stage Manager Lauria Kincaid
Stage Manager Josiah George

Nelly Windrod.......Marianna Bassham
Walter...........Daniel Berger-Jones
Skelly Mannor..........Joel Colodner
Cora Groves..............Linda Goetz
Evelyn Jackson.........Georgia Lyman
Martha Truit............Sharon Mason
Eva Jackson...........Isabela Miller
Lena Truit.............Olivia Miller
Mavis Johnson..........Janelle Mills
Peck Johnson.............Jason Myatt
Josh Johnson...........Taylor Napier
Preacher/Judge............Dale Place
Robert Conklin.......Steven Robinson
Mary Winrod........M. Lynda Robinson
Wilma Atkins........Bobbie Steinbach
Trucker......Paul Richard Yarborough
Patsy Johnson.........Annabel Steven

Some plays really Need a review --- a bit of explanation to help an audience see the beauties of something that isn't straight-line similar to a television plot. There are reasons, for instance, why the seventeen members of the cast in "The Rimers of Eldritch" all stay on the Stoneham Theatre stage throughout each act. That's because the entire little midwestern town, dying ever since the mines that fed it ran dry, is the real "star" of the show. The whole first act is like the shattered, fragmented image in a dropped mirror. Everyone in Eldritch thinks they know everybody --- and they gossip endlessly about all their neighbors --- but the second act is more of a murder-mystery proving they all get it wrong. Obviously the stunning cast that Director Weyland Symes has assembled enjoys making these vibrant characters rub against one another till they give off sparks in all directions.

Audiences may recognize the names in that cast --- from Bobbie Steinbach and Joel Colodner of A.S.P. to Isabella Miller, Annabel Steven and Olivia Miller from the Stoneham Young Company --- but since these actors melt into character and merge into Eldritch it may take some minutes to recognize old friends like Georgia Lyman, Dale Place, Sharon Mason, or Jason Myatt wearing new faces. Who they're playing is much more important than who they are.

They are Eldritch --- where the only moviehouse has been closed for years, and youngsters who drive to the nearby city on dates expect to move away after college, unless they marry after high-school. Who's seeing whom, and what might come of unexpected couplings are topics of everyday conversation --- as much as the year's rainfall and the year's crop of oats, oh and who shot smelly old Skelly Mannor and why he deserved it. Come final curtain it's obvious that everyone in the town did something, said something, thought something that had effects that caused it to happen and caused everyone to get the facts wrong. As Jeff Adelberg's lights flit from one conversation or one confrontation or one moment in time to another, the town of Eldritch comes alive.

One bitter and unexpected note though is that Lanford Wilson the playwright, who had a hand in starting what could be called the Off-Broadway theater movement, died at almost the same moment this production of his play opened in Stoneham. Luckily, local companies are just re-discovering the biting, quirky theatricality of his plays and the warts-and-all humanity of his characters.


24 March - 10 April
"Rimers of Eldritch"
395 Main Street, STONEHAM MA

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide