Review by Dallon Thorup
Why do we go to the theatre? It’s a question that has many answers. For me, I go to the theatre to feel things I don’t normally allow myself to feel in normal day to day dealings. I went to Rabbit Hole knowing nothing of the show, only that I’d need tissues handy, which I failed to bring with me. I had prepared myself, as best as I could, to deal with some heavy-hitting material.
Director JayC Stoddard has beautifully taken what was written on the page and constructed a very raw, riveting, emotionally charged, high octane plunge into the grieving process of each and every character brought to life in this show. JayC pieced every character so appropriately I felt like this was not a play, but a real life event I had intruded on.
Rusty Bringhurst and Ali Lente play a grieving couple, Howie and Becca, both at different places in the grieving process. Jillian Joy plays Izzy, Becca’s sister. Vicki Pugmire is Nat, the mother to Becca and Izzy. They are all in different stages of grief following the tragedy. Then we have Jared John Tuckett playing Jason. The only one connected to the tragedy outside of the family unit.
Jared John Tuckett as Jason brought an intense amount of sincerity to his performance. The choices he made were very clear as to why he made them, and my heart broke for his character. Although he seemed a bit timid and shy in places, it felt more like a character choice over nerves, and I thought it absolutely worked.
Vicki Pugmire as Nat was perfectly cast. Her interpretation of the character was so spot on it felt real. Nothing Vicki did was forced. The few times she was on stage she commanded it at all the appropriate times and always kept you enthralled. Her mix of humor and sadness was well balanced; not one emotion ever over powered the other.
Jillian Joy as Izzy was such a delight. Every second she was on stage she was Izzy. It’s rare to see someone own their character as well as Jillian did. So much honesty was portrayed in this role that I forgot that she was only a character.
Rusty Bringhurst as Howie was beyond brilliant. There is not one word that can sum up the amount of talent that came from this mans performance. Rusty gave, in my opinion, the most honest, tear-jerking, heart-wrenching, absolutely wonderful performance of the entire night. His performance alone is reason enough to go see this show. The intensity, the emotion, the passion and dedication behind every character choice made was brilliant. Rusty was convincing in all he did every second he was on that stage.
Costume Designer Nancy Susan Cannon, Lighting Designer Blake Delwisch, Sound Designer James Hansen, Set Designer Justin Jenkins, and Scenic Arts Designer Amanda Ruth Wilson created an environment that made me feel like I was watching real life. The set is just an interior of a living room, no mics, simple lighting. It was all simplistically done as to not draw focus from the actors. It’s where the reality of it all came into play. Even the costumes. It was all modern, simple, and just real. That’s the best word to describe everything about this show. Gut wrenchingly honest and real.
Ali Lente as Becca played, in my opinion, one of the greatest interpretations of any character I’ve had the privilege of witnessing. From beginning to end, from every line and every action, from every tear and every giggle her character expressed, I wasn’t watching a show. I was watching something real. Ali was spot on in all she did. I felt so much pain and heart ache for her. I also felt happy for her. Every emotion she had, I felt I shared it with her. Ali could not have been any better.
Everyone together in this show was magical. I was taken on an emotional journey, and in the end I felt so happy to be a part of it. I recommend this show to everyone! If I missed this show, knowing how absolutely outstanding it is, I’d be crushed.
This is truly a great production and if you get the chance to see it, don’t pass it up.
Utah Repertory Theatre Presents Rabbit Hole at Midvale Main Street Theatre
7711 South Main Street
Midvale, UT 84047
May 8-24 7:30 PM
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