REVIEW: THE TREASURER at Miners Alley Playhouse

by Michael Mulhern

I had very mixed feelings about this show. While the ensemble was outstanding l, I felt the the technical left something to be desired. There is a certain Ying and Yang when it comes to Theater – with Actors and technical artists (you can’t have one without the other) and when they are in cohesion, it makes for an impactful show and a memorable evening of theater. But when one of these elements are off, it is noticeable and makes the show feel unfinished.

I really did appreciate the script by playwright Max Posner. I have been estranged from family members in the past and it can be hard to overcome. Months or years go by, resentment builds,  and you never know when it may be too late. This was also a haunting reminder of the downturn and deterioration of aging. 

Billie McBride was magnificent as the Mother, Ida. The deterioration of Billie was a tragic character study of aging and even with tears in my eyes I could not turn away. From the inflection in her voice, to her posture and facial expressions; you could clearly see what stages she was in in aging and it was absolutely fascinating to watch. Augustus Truhn was quite charismatic as the Son and really carried the story. From his first line (I’m Just Not the Suicide Type) he demanded our attention and took us on the heartbreaking journey. Peter Trinh and Jasmine Jackson were excellent in the various supporting characters and rounded out this wonderful cast. I really enjoyed Peter’s role as the brother and the surprise character at the end of the show. Jasmine was great as the retail sales girl and as the voice of the invasive security questions.

Director John Moore did an excellent job of selecting such an outstanding ensemble. Their chemistry was obvious and it worked well with such an emotional play. And while I appreciated most of the blocking and fluid scene transitions (especially the security questions), one scene puzzled me. The Asian Restaurant scene was a bit awkward and the amount of time it took to set up the scene started to make the audience uncomfortable. I started to wonder that for this amount of setup, it must be a crucial scene to the plot. While the scene was important, it was not the climax of the show and they could have shortened the setup time (it took 30 seconds to clear).

I absolutely adored the set by designer Jonathan Scott-McKean. I loved the subtle metaphor of the steel walls that surrounded the set just like the walls we build up when we let things go unsaid with loved ones. Another nice homage to resentment and separation was the extreme distance that they put onstage between Ida and her son. 

On the flip-side, I feel that there were a lot of cues that were left out from the show that would have really enhanced the performance. The lighting by designer Vance McKenzie and sound by designer Jonathan Scott-McKean felt a little bare bones. There were several times during the show that I was wondering why there wasn’t an effect there (for example – several times the Son mentioned Red Light and Green Light and thought that would make a good effect). I also thought that there could been an ominous sound effect on a loop for the final scene. I was really disappointed by the climax of the show that was just begging for a big lighting and sound effect  that would make the audience jump out of their seats, but sadly…….nothing.

Personal issues with tech aside it was an enthralling evening of fine performances that reminds us of the exceptional talent that is Miners Alley

THE TREASURER is moving audiences now through August 7th. For tickets or more information, call the Miners Alley Box Office by calling 303-935-3044 or online at minersalley.com.

 

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