2016-08-05 / Ticket

TAM delivers magic with ‘The Illusion’

Special to Ticket

“THE ILLUSION” runs through Aug. 19 at Theater at Monmouth. 

Based on playwright Tony Kushner’s adaptation of Pierre Corneille’s original play, Theater at Monmouth’s production of the “The Illusion” centers on the relationship between a father and son.

Seeking to reunite with his estranged son (Rob Glauz) of many years, Pridamant (Mark S. Cartier) travels to a mysterious cave where he meets the all-powerful magician Alcandre (Janis Stevens). It’s through Alcandre’s magic that Pridamant is able to witness various events in his son’s life which feature love, betrayal, and name changing intrigue.

Director Davis Robinson leads a well-utilized production team that each contributes to the play to great effect: Jim Alexander’s set design blends smoothly with Matthew Adelson’s lighting design creating a range of ambiances; Rew Tippin’s sound design is a production highlight, adding a touch of humor to scenes as music that heightens emotion during character monologues.

Also a highlight is the cast’s character work with some shifts in personality throughout the play, becoming completely different characters as the play progresses.

Cartier is excellent as the ever persistent Pridamant, conveying his character’s desperation to reunite with his son. Janis Stevens commands attention as the powerful magician Alcandre. Rob Glauz shines as Pridamant’s son showing his character’s passion as he tries to win over a young noble woman (played by Erica Murphy), but also showing the unsavory aspects of his character.

As the noble woman’s maid, Blythe Coons brings a complexity to her character who goes through many emotional changes throughout the play, but always has a quick wit in her interactions with other characters. Jake Loewenthal brings to life the various personalities of the different suitors in direct competition with Pridament’s son for the noble woman’s affection.

James Hoban is a scene stealer as the over-the-top and egotistical Matamore managing to always get big laughs from audience members. Erica Murphy and Christopher Holt have an incredible dynamic and participate in a show stopping scene as the young noble woman comes into conflict with her father.

Featuring great production design, excellent performances, and fun narrative twists, Theater at Monmouth’s production of “The Illusion” feels like a well-crafted and performed magic trick you won’t want to miss.

“The Illusion” runs through Aug. 19. For more information on this production and others, including show times and ticket purchasing, visit theateratmonmouth.org.

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