REVIEW: SIN STREET SOCIAL at the Arvada Center

by Edwin Lobach

If you haven’t heard of this play it’s because this production is its world premier. A campy high comedy, Sin Street Social starts and ends in witty dialogue, keeping the audience cackling while following the lives of the characters. We begin in 1917 New Orleans with sisters Helen and Florie May (Jessica Robblee, Emily Van Fleet) bantering over their lives and loves until their brother Pete enters (Zachary
Andrews) informing us that their late father hadn’t paid his taxes and the family business is going under.

This is the second show (of three) I’ve seen from the 2019 Black Box Repertory season, the first being The Moors. The Repertory runs these shows during the same months and I’ve got to say, Brian Mallgrave is remarkable in the scenic design. Sure some work may be recycled, but from the bleak moors of England to Storyville, New Orleans to an annex in Amsterdam—you see what I mean. Mallgrave does the work to place us in these settings.

Following in the comic vein, Jason Ducat’s sound underlines the catch lines wonderfully. From the silent slapstick moments to the butt of a joke, the sound design rounds the play out. And you have to hand it to Gabriella Cavallero for coaching the cast in that drawling New Orleans dialect. It’s impressive to see these actors take on such very different roles in the Repertory. Abner Genece, playing as Blunt, was my favorite actor. After the shows the actors have a discussion with whosoever wants to join, and I was expecting Genece to actually have a southern drawl. He filled Blunts shoes well.

Sin Street Social was written by Colorado playwright Jessica Austgen, commissioned by the Arvada Center. It’s an adaptation of The Rover by Aphra Behn, a scandalous 17th century play which was a big deal then, because Aphra Behn was a female writer and, if you don’t know, they didn’t have a lot of those back then. So go support our female writers!

Sin Street Social is titillating audiences now until May 19 th . Find tickets or other information by calling (720)898-7200 or visiting arvadacenter.org.

 

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