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Different endings, same result: Another solid production

 

February 8, 2019



The Phoenix Theatre’s presentation of Alan Ayckbourn’s “It Could Be Any One of Us” is an ambitious display, blending extensive dialogue, eccentric characters, British accents and alternate endings into a play that runs for nearly two and a half hours.

This murder mystery takes place in a house owned by an irritable, unsuccessful composer named Mortimer Chalke (Curt Simmons), who inherited his mother’s home and all of her money after she died. Members of Mortimer’s family live in the house also, all of who unsuccessfully practice forms of art that the deceased matriarch commissioned them to do.

Phoenix regular James Lynch returns as Brinton Chalke, a painter who has little to show for and constantly complains that constant rain floods his art studio. At 40, he still gets his hair dried by his older sister in an aggressive manner that someone might adopt to dry off a wet dog.

Brinton’s sister Jocelyn Polegate (Susan Connors) is a struggling crime story novelist who can’t seem to put the pieces together for her book. Her daughter Amy (Sydney Kaser) is enrolled in all sorts of artistic endeavors, but throughout the show exercises her true passion – eating.

Jocelyn’s boyfriend, Norris (Tom Cook), is also unsuccessful as a private detective, but he is on the case when suspicious things began happening. Mortimer considers him a “growth” because he believes Norris – like the rest of the household – contributes little to society.

Mortimer hasn’t exactly contributed much either, but he says he has at least has a litany of musical compositions ready to be sold and performed.

Cristina Devrin plays Wendy Windwood, Mortimer’s former piano student, who nobody in the family has seen in 20 years. She first appears onstage walking strangely, wearing one high-heeled shoe and one flat shoe. Mismatched shoes and being really, really into pets are just two of her oddities.

The play ran smoothly under the direction of Jay Jenkins.

Lighting and sound cues were met, including an extended piano and vocal number that was not intended to be pleasant to the ear. This repetitious musical number accompanied by colored lighting provided an eerie mood that made the audience think something bad was about to happen.

But to whom? Who is trying to kill whom? Every performance will be a surprise.

The Phoenix puts on plays that are outside the box, inventive, and not constrained to classic story telling. “It Could Be Any One of Us,” like other plays it performs, asks the audience to join in on the theatrical journey.

Every ending in this show will be different, so you can return to see what the characters will do next time. I love the intimacy of the theater and the passion of the actors. This play has its share of laughs, but is not hilarious.

The performances were energetic and solidly executed. The ending was not as polished as the rest of the show. But with a play that has multiple endings, how could it be?

“It Could Be Any One of Us” is through Feb. 24 at Phoenix Theatre, 9673 Firdale Ave., Firdale. 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sundays. Tickets are $20-$25. Info: 533-2000, tpt.edmonds.org.

 

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