Thursday, June 16, 2011

"Frogger" Is the Whole Package at Studio Roanoke

I've been waiting for months for everything to fall into place for one of Studio Roanoke's edgy and creative productions and I got in Adam Hahn's "Frogger" tonight.

Every bit of it was right. Hahn's writing, Cheryl Snodgrass' precise and inventive direction, a spot-on cast, Blue Herbert's set design and lighting and even Darlene Fedele's puppets.

The story here is complex and I can't tell you a lot about it without spoiling it, but the director and cast handle subtleties and nuances dealing with a troubled young man who tends to wind up in the hospital with serious injury with a depth of understanding that is impressive.

Kevin McAlexander's lead portrayal is especially impressive, but the largest cast yet (for the shortest play, about an hour) at Studio Roanoke is uniformally good. Special notice goes to the always watchable Stephen Glassbrenner (as an autistic child), Laura Tuggle Anderson and Brian O'Sullivan as foster parents, and Blair Peyton as a disinterested hospital administrator (who's really funny).

The play's time sequence is at times confusing, but there are many "Oh, yeh," moments quickly after you get lost and they are satisfying. There's a head-slapping conclusion and a standing ovation waiting to happen.

This is a play that deserves a good-sized and intelligent audience in the small theater, which has been re-designed for this play and brilliantly used almost as a character in the production. When you're this small and this creative, you use everything you have and Studio Roanoke does that as well as any theater in this region ever has.

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