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T H E A T E R   R E V I E W  -  Doubt  -  Pasadena Playhouse

 
        

PASADENA, CA - God's church is perfect, it's members are not. John Patrick Shanley's west cast premiere of DOUBT explores an issue that even today rocks the very foundation of the Catholic Church. This new play focuses on intolerance, gossip... and doubt.

Sister Aloysius (Linda Hunt) is the principle of a co-ed Bronx catholic school in 1964. She rules with an iron fist and expects nothing less from her teaching staff. When Sister James (Mandy Freund) shows too much ambition and joy in teaching, Sister Aloysius urges her to tone down her methods, in essence asking her to look at the cup as half empty instead of half full. "Innocence is a form of laziness." She asks Sister James to become cold in her thinking, and bring any sign of ill behavior directly to her attention.

This young passionate nun, in trying desperately to live up to the standards of her superior, suggests that popular Father Flynn (Jonathan Cake) may have had an inappropriate relationship with one of the male students. Sister James' accusations are highly speculative, but Sister Aloysuis believes there is true evil within this man and will stop at nothing until the matter is resolved. 

      

Cake's performance as Father Flynn is in every respect believable, you can see each accusation beat upon him with agonizing clarity. Hunt is also rock solid as the aging Sister Aloysius, causing your short hairs to stand up straight with every venom filled charge in her witch hunt.

Gary L. Wissmann's scenic design smoothly transitions between a wintry courtyard and Sister Aloysius' office while original music and sound design by Steven Cahill successfully complements the darker mood of this one act. Sharp bursts of white light put an exclamation point on the end of each atmospheric and heavy scene, achieved by lighting designer Jeremy Pivnick. Claudia Weill has directed an exceptional piece that will capture you, right through its final explosive confrontation.

DOUBT only recently opened on Broadway and currently the only other place to see this exceptional play is at the Pasadena Playhouse. Now playing through April 10, 2005.- Ruston Harker 
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Ruston Harker, staff writer and editor for Maestro Arts & Reviews is also the entertainment editor for OnceWritten.com. He is an actor/singer in the Los Angeles theater scene as well as a Disney Studios cast member.
 

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