REVIEW: THE RETREAT (Theatre)

I managed to catch the last showing of this dark twisted and brilliant play on Sunday night. Now even with a familiar face in the cast, I promise to be completely honest in my review of this whodunit play.

I was unprepared to be mentally affected by the lights and sounds of this production. Kudos to the sound manager for the realistic storm that haunted the space, not to mention the use of the 360-ish stage and the film noir feel the production delivered almost too perfectly.

The setting of the stage itself was very simple yet it felt complex with the movement of the storyline.

As for the story, I loved that there was a clear difference in the mood setting between the acts itself to the thoughts being spoken by the main character, Gina.

This play was casted with 6 main characters, but the additional sound effects from a seated character made the anxiety within me jump and half await for the next screech she’d yell out in between the dialogs on stage – that being said, I noticed a pattern in the yelling that got old by the middle of the second act.

One thing was for sure, this play was not a family show. Profanities were a big part of the script. Frankly, it was refreshing… too many shows lately are censored or restricted to a point where the characters lose their spark. It was an interesting interpretation of PTSD and representation of mental illness patients, however the doctor’s character could have less of a biased personality when he appeared in flashback scenes. I felt that he was sneaky and sly in the way he talked to the other characters, almost as if he was judgmental towards them.

My favorite characters were the nervous patient named Grace, her outbursts and jittery personality somehow resonated at a personal level; and Charlie, the promiscuous companion woman in her lace corset and no filter one liners. As for Charlie’s love interest, Josh was a character I loved to hate – this sentiment was echoed by other members of the audience when I chatted with them during intermission.

I loved the diversity and the idea behind the storylines itself, but like a lot of my reviews, there are cons to this production.

I don’t know exactly whether it was intentional to have the time and place to be set so ambiguously – having the character’s being Asian with western-ish names was unsettling but this may just be my opinion.

Other than that I think the location itself at Twenty2two was a miss – even with the map out it was complicated to exit the housing area the show was surrounded by.

I think it’s safe to say that this was definitely a great show, unfortunately it only ran until last week – even though I would not watch it twice for my own personal mental health. Would I recommend others to watch it if it ran again? Yes, definitely.

I look forward to catch more works from the creators and cast!

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