Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: Washington, D.C.

The Night Alive
Round House Theatre
Review by Susan Berlin | Season Schedule

Also see Susan's reviews of Girlstar


Michael Tolaydo, Edward Gero, and Katie deBuys
Photo by Cheyenne Michaels
Irish playwright Conor McPherson crafts plays like pieces of chamber music where each character stands alone while together they create a rich ensemble. Edward Gero's aching, vulnerable performance undergirds The Night Alive, now at Round House Theatre in Bethesda, Maryland, and also provides solid support to the other four actors.

As directed with insight and delicacy by Ryan Rilette, Gero plays Tommy, trying to get along in a rough economy and living in a room of a once-grand house in Dublin owned by his friend Maurice (Michael Tolaydo). He is estranged from his wife and children and supports himself as best he can doing odd jobs. He doesn't realize when he rescues Aimee (Katie deBuys) from an assailant that his marginal existence is about to change.

McPherson allows the drama to bubble up slowly as Tommy and Aimee get to know each other and Tommy's friend Doc (Gregory Linington) provides slightly crazed commentary on eternity, life and death, the passage of time, and other topics. Then Kenneth (Joseph Carlson) arrives, icy and sadistic, and the action becomes a battle between Tommy's empathy and Kenneth's viciousness—leavened by the playwright's surprising moments of humor.

Gero's portrayal is both well thought out and powerfully physical; Tommy dances awkwardly and gives Aimee the wide-eyed looks of a man who can't believe his luck, but he isn't weak and does what he has to do. He is well balanced by Carlson's unsettling ruthlessness and deBuys' coiled intensity, as well as more comic turns by Tolaydo and Linington.

Meghan Raham designed both the scenery and the costumes, creating a dead-on picture of people on the fringes, finding joy wherever it might be hiding, and looking for the transcendent in the everyday.

Round House Theatre
The Night Alive
October 21st - November 13th
By Conor McPherson
Tommy: Edward Gero
Aimee: Katie deBuys
Doc: Gregory Linington
Maurice: Michael Tolaydo
Kenneth: Joseph Carlson
Directed by Ryan Rilette
4545 East-West Highway
Bethesda, MD
Ticket Information: 240-564-1100 or www.roundhousetheatre.org


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