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a World Premiere
by jpbeck

COMPANY : Onion Man Productions [WEBSITE]
VENUE : 14th Street Playhouse [WEBSITE]
ID# 5009

SHOWING : January 13, 2017 - January 29, 2017



A new play by Atlanta
playwright David Fisher
January 13th to 29th
Friday and Saturday at 7:30
Sunday at 3:00
Venue: Onion Man
5522 New Peachtree Rd #111
Chamblee, GA 30341

When real estate prices crashed, Frank and Dorrie Horne went looking for a bargain. They found one. But with its long, dark history and a magical garden the Hillhouse has a way of exacting some strange payments from its new owners.

Director Betty Mitchell
stage manager Jim Walsh
Frank Horne Bob Winstead
Gretta Uxbridge Judith Beasley
Andy (Bucky) Knox Tom FitzStephens
Dorrie Horne Cat Roche
Alice Guy Brooke Schlosser
Click to Submit Cast & Crew Info for this production


by playgoer
Sunday, January 15, 2017
David Fisher’s new play "Foreclosure" is reminiscent of Ira Levin’s "Deathtrap." In both we have an unusual building in which the action takes place, a man and his wife whose relationship is complicated by another man, an eccentric neighbor who makes foreboding pronouncements, a manuscript multiple people want to get their hands on, and there’s death. This is no slavish imitation, though; it’s more a shared sensibility and similar cast list.

Frank Horne (Bob Winstead) and his wife Dorrie (Cat Roche) buy a run-down foreclosed house, previously owned by Andy "Bucky" Knox (Tom FitzStephens). Realtor Alice Guy (Brooke Schlosser) is selling it as-is, with copious forms to be signed. Neighbor Gretta Uxbridge (Judith Beasley) knows the full history of the place, not that she reveals everything to the new neighbors. The story follows Frank from his first viewing of the house throughout its restoration.

The set, constructed and painted by David Fisher and Katy Clarke, cleverly disguises a mid-stage column in a stone fireplace, whose trick mantle hides a secret. A wall to the right of the fireplace and a pair of angled walls stage left show cracks and broken plaster initially, but are covered by pictures once the restoration is complete. Scenes in the Hornes’ kitchen and exterior to the run-down house are presented in front of the stage proper, in director Betty Mitchell’s fluid blocking. James Beck’s lighting design creates hot and cool spots on the stage, distracting only when movement occurs up left that flirts with the edges of a cool spot. Costumes work beautifully to distinguish characters.

The play is constructed of a number of scenes that mostly seem to last about ten minutes, perhaps reflecting Mr. Fisher’s background in writing shorter plays of this length. Curt Shannon’s sound design plays music between each of the many scenes, and props and furnishings are frequently moved on and off. This structure creates a somewhat choppy effect, without a long through-line to intensify the dramatic effect of the plot’s revelations. The act break comes in the middle of things, but without a cliffhanger feel.

The plot proceeds in a fairly straightforward manner, and the dialogue sounds very natural throughout. There are many tinges of the supernatural, with a bit of magical realism relating to a garden on the property, but the final big revelation is cleverly based on a verifiable, factual explanation. There’s a spooky feel throughout, but a lot of character-based humor. The audience’s attention is not given time to wander (except during scene changes).

Betty Mitchell has gotten good performances out of everyone in the cast. Judith Beasley is a standout, shading her line readings for maximum effect, and Brooke Schlosser is comically natural in her small role. On opening night, nerves seemed to flavor the performances of Cat Roche and Tom FitzStephens, but the character traits in their performances were fully developed, and their lines flowed smoothly. Bob Winstead builds his performance up to an explosion in the final scene, which leaves a taste of bitterness that fits in beautifully with the overall tone of the play.

"Foreclosure" may not be a masterpiece, but it provides an engrossing evening of entertainment. There’s darkness, there’s danger, there’s humor, there’s the supernatural, but most of all there’s the pleasure of watching the work of people who certainly know what they’re doing. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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