Sunday, March 5, 2017

reviews - STOREFRONT CHURCH - Theatre Artists Studio

William Mosley and Dominik Rebilas
Photo by Mark Gluckman
highlights from local critics reviews - (click link at bottom of each review to read complete review)

Click here for more information on this production that runs through March 12th.

"John Patrick Shanley's 2012 play Storefront Church is...an interesting though not completely successful play due to the rather small view of the world it portrays and the fast resolution to the problems the characters face. Theatre Artists Studio's production features a gifted cast and solid direction, making the most of Shanley's script. The play focuses on several residents of a Bronx neighborhood who have lost their way, but have come together in a makeshift church to discover that success isn't truly defined by money and power....It is an intriguing play that shows how the mixture of money, politics, and religion aren't always a heavenly recipe. Just about everyone was impacted in some way by the mortgage crisis...So Shanley's decision to present the issue here as one that is quickly resolved with bankers who are eager to help seems somewhat unrealistic. ...Fortunately, Shanley created interesting characters and under Carol MacLeod's sharp and solid direction the cast for this production all deliver beautiful portrayals, even if Shanley didn't quite give them all the same amount of nuance and believability. Dominik Rebilas is exceptional as Donaldo. He is delivering a compelling performance of this eager man who is trying to solve people's problems but also facing conflicted feelings as he tries to keep his integrity intact... As Chester, William Mosley creates a likable man who is in a rut and can't find a way out, though Shanley doesn't exactly give us enough information to make it seem at first that he is much more than a freeloader. ...As Ethan and Jessie, Bill Straus and Larissa Brewington make a very realistic married couple who are desperate yet still full of love, life, and a huge amount of humor. As the bank CEO, Tom Koelbel is all business but also has some warmth,....Steve Fajardo is appropriately meek and short-tempered as Reed Van Druyten, a beaten down man with a tragic past. Fajardo makes him transformative in the final moments of the play when he discovers the ability to stand up for himself. While Storefront Church may not be a perfect play it does have a moving finale and Theatre Artists Studio's production features a talented group of actors who deliver performances with commitment to their characters' social and spiritual beliefs. When all six individuals end up together for a service in the makeshift church, Shanley effectively shows that even a barren room can serve as a healing place for a community of strangers to find sanctuary together. " -Gil Benbrook, Talkin' Broadway (click here to read the complete review)

"... the play's central characters, each of whom is convincingly depicted in Theatre Artists Studio's current production, adroitly directed by Carol MacLeod....Shanley brings these conflicted parties together in the makeshift chapel for a final resolution that attests to the power of self-interest and the relative ease with which one's morality can bend. In these confines, it doesn't take a village or require divine intervention to drive a hallelujah moment. ...Carol MacLeod has created a taut and well-paced interpretation of STOREFRONT CHURCH. Her cast delivers the goods, balancing wit and intensity to produce a provocative reflection on the limits of morality.  " - Herbert Paine, Broadway World (click here to read the complete review)

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