Studio Roanoke founder Kenley Smith (right) with new artistic director Melora Kordos and GM/writer Ben Williams at tonight's performance of Williams' "Man With Wings."
The production at Studio Roanoke under its new management is proof that the idea is bigger than the people producing it. Ben R. Williams' "Man With Wings," produced by Kenley Smith, who gave up the general manager and artistic director posts at his theater to pursue his writing, was in keeping with the edgy, thoughtful, often provocative fare that is usual for SR.
Smith brought forth fine performances from Patrick Kennerly and Drew Dowdy in a story pushing the mind to limits of the supernatural that might make some uncomfortable. It is a finely woven tale of a writer in search of mystical beings and a small town sheriff who may well have one hidden in his past. Dowdy's portrayal of the writer with some sort of mysterious medical problem (you get the distinct impression it is mental) is weirdly effective, a neurotic nutcase who is believable. The sheriff has a lot more floor time, but Dowdy--to use a basketball expression--moves without the ball well and it's hard to take your eyes off his fidgeting and facial contortions even when Kennerly is in full throat.
It is an entertaining hour with an ending that will leave you sitting still for a minute or two.
The show is $15 for most people who buy in advance and $20 for the forgetful. You can order tickets by phone at 540-343-3054 or pay for them and print them by visiting the website studioroanoke.org.