September 25, 2007 > Theatre Review
Misery: A thrilling experience
By Anuja Seith
Still purple walls, a quiet kitchen and bedroom with orderly book shelves and crisp bed covers speak of a cold and lifeless owner and prophesy of lurking tragedy. This house is of Annie Wilkes, Stephen King's famous psychotic character who incarcerates suave Paul Sheldon, famous playwright of Misery novels. Directed by Mary Galde (Associate Director Dawn E. Cates), this adaptation of King's best-selling novel brings these two characters played by Paula Chenoweth and James Hiser to spellbinding life.
Hiser shines as Sheldon, an award wining romantic fiction writer, who evokes admiration and celebrity status when receiving accolades for his work and sympathy as the hapless victim of frenzied woman, Wilkes, his "number one fan." Tears, monologues of self encouragement, despair and plans to murder his captivator send shivers down the spine. Every time he groans with pain, pleads for medication or resigns himself to his fate, the audience empathizes, loathing Wilkes (Chenoweth). The high emotion and tension felt by the audience is the result of an amazing performance by both actors.
Sheldon, immersed in a gothic nightmare, appears helpless as Wilkes continues her atrocities. Their conversations, coupled with vivid facial expressions, thankfully provide a bit of comic relief. Lightning and audio background add to the dramatic effect. Sheldon's unheard screams, desperation to escape and Wilkes's satanic obsession are accompanied by stage effects that amplify tension while background sounds add to the mood.
Overall, this play is a rollercoaster ride, exciting yet frightening. With brilliant performances and wonderful stage effects it offers a scary but an exhilarating evening. Whether you read the book, watched the movie or did both, the stage version is not to be missed. For an enthralling, spooky and exciting evening, especially for couples who can hold each other tightly, Broadway West provides the perfect place to be.
Playing through October 20
8 p.m. Thursday - Saturday
1 p.m. Sunday)
Broadway West Theatre Company
4000 Bay Street, Fremont
$20 general, $15 for students, seniors and TBA Members.
$15 Thursday performances
$20 Sunday performances