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Criminal Hearts
a Comedy/Drama
by Jane Martin

COMPANY : The Weird Sisters Theatre Project
VENUE : Aurora Theatre [WEBSITE]
ID# 4588

SHOWING : June 12, 2014 - June 22, 2014



"Criminal Hearts" is a thought-provoking comedy, perfect fare for summer audiences. Chicago cat-burglar, Bo, has been casing an upscale condo for weeks – now it’s time to strike! But once she breaks in the place is empty, except for agoraphobic Ata and her mattress. Ata’s husband just cleaned her out and left her with nothing more than an empty condo and an empty life. When an unlikely friendship forms, these women develop a plan of revenge. Will criminal minds prevail over Criminal Hearts? Find out in this sometimes surprising, often hilarious, and always outrageous play.

Director Nichole Palmietto
Wib Matt Felten
Robbie Vinnie Mascola
Bo Tiffany Porter
Ata Sarah Wallis
Click to Submit Cast & Crew Info for this production


Criminal Minds Fink Alike
by playgoer
Sunday, June 15, 2014
"Criminal Hearts" takes us into the world of burglary and grifting, thanks to the attempted burglary of Ata’s condo by Bo. Since Ata’s condo has just been stripped bare by her husband in a nasty separation, the burglary is a bust. As Bo attempts to calm the off-the-wall mess of neuroses that Ata currently happens to be, a friendship (and possible business partnership) develops. Jane Martin has carefully and cleverly constructed the play to build interest, suspense, and dramatic intensity, throwing in lots of comedy along the way.

Tiffany Porter is sheer perfection as Bo. She’s natural, bold, and physically imposing. Sarah Elizabeth Wallis is also well-cast as Ata, with the look of a woman whose natural state is being victimized, although her performance doesn’t particularly reflect a privileged, upper middle class background. Matt Felten, as her husband Wibb, gives off more of that vibe. Vinnie Mascola, in contrast, plays a caricature rather than a character as Robbie, Bo’s partner in crime. As a whole, the cast work very well together. Director Nichole Palmietto has given the play pace and drive.

Joel King’s set design looks like a run-of-the-mill neutral apartment before the show starts, with an incongruously ornate chandelier above. When the lights come on, we see the outlines of removed paintings, and in the script we learn that this is supposed to be an upscale condo. More elegant doorknobs and trim would telegraph this more clearly, as would some elegant variety in Sarah Thompson’s painted wood floor. The number 4 on the outside door also seems a little iffy for an upper-floor condo. James Helms’ lighting design has several nice nighttime effects, but unnecessarily throws in dramatic dimming and spotlighting at times. Daniel Terry’s sound design nicely evokes a city environment.

Jaclynn Hofmann’s props consist largely of Dr. Pepper cans and empty pizza boxes, since Ata has been subsisting on them, apparently for weeks (arguably longer than the time since Bo had cased the condo). Other props are first-rate too. Kelly Criss has coordinated costumes that really come to the forefront in act two. Blocking uses the space relatively well, with little activity on the floor and with few backs to the audience for extended periods. With audience on three sides, blocking in this space can be tricky.

The Weird Sisters Theatre Project has chosen a strikingly original work in "Criminal Hearts," and Nichole Palmietto’s direction points up the strengths of the script. There are enough twists to keep interest throughout, with a ton of heart thrown into the mix. It all ties up with a criminally hopeful ending. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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