Saturday, February 21, 2009

A Review of Crave Presented by Theater Ninjas

A Copy of what was sent to NEOPALS : A Review of Crave Presented by Theater Ninjas

When you open the door a very uniquely shaped yet simplistic art gallery and the opportunity to partake in a glass of wine or other libations while enjoying the performance greet you. There is no set, except the oddly shaped room with several strategically placed partitions and the only prop is a brown metal chair. Lighting is minimal. This open space setting gives you a sense that this is going to be a very artistic show that will rely on movement and expression to sell and tell the story.

These four characters do just that. From the moment they hit the stage they are in a physical workout and on an emotional roller coaster which they successfully take the audience along for the ride! I was shocked to find out that this brilliant ensemble were all perfect strangers less than 6 weeks ago. They play off each other with comfort and ease and move together like a well-oiled machine
The tight dialogue is swift, crisp and delivered with expert timing. There is absolutely no room for error in this piece and it was delivered flawlessly.

Body Language and movement are a huge part of this production. The actors created all the very effective choreography with some minor tweaking from the director. These characters would simultaneously be in an individual emotional chaos then in a split second be in sync with each other while looking in different directions. Again, this precise timing in movement was truly an amazing sight to behold! Surprisingly, they have only rehearsed in this space for the last 5 days prior to opening. Their previous rehearsal space was an open rectangular room. Once you see the show, you will appreciate this fact!

Lucy Bredeson-Smith (M), uses her lengthy extremities with skill and very erotically at times to convey her message and her haunting eyes help tell her story.
Terence Cranendonk (A), has wonderful facial expression and body language mixed in with some great comedic moments. Val Kozlenko (B), uses his charm and infectious smile to draw you in and his wonderful comedic timing and expression to make you laugh. His gorgeous head of hair is creatively used as a prop when needed as well. Layla Schwartz has the ability to draw you in and feel exactly what she is feeling at any given moment.

All four characters were able to maintain movement and stay in character during monologues without upstaging the individual who was speaking. This is not always an easy task for several actors. Thankfully, all the actors also played their voice like a beautiful instrument with perfect projection, enunciation and appropriate inflection. Which is a must for this show!

Jeremy Paul, Director, Faye Hargate, Assistant Director did a fantastic job in casting and pulling this challenging piece together, making it work
Jeremy’s use of lighting was subtle and very effective. Sarah Hyde, Stage Manager, was successful in getting the show started on time and kept it running smoothly throughout.

This provocative story relies heavily on poetic, lyrical and at times somewhat prayer like language to get its message across. It explores the natures of love, cruelty and the times in life when these two are indistinguishable. Crave makes you come wanting and leave satiated. There was a wonderful buzz in the room and positive feedback by all audience members at the conclusion of this production, including an encore ovation.

The Ohio premiere of Sarah Kane’s Crave is being presented by Theater Ninjas at the Asterisk Gallery, 2393 Professor Ave., Cleveland. The show is currently running through March 8th. Seating is very limited and will sell out so order your tickets early. For tickets or more information call 216-539-0662 or visit their website

Submitted by Susan Watson