Monday, January 7, 2013

                         Newark Violenta
                               The Edge Theatre: Jan 4 –Jan 26

                             Left to right above: Brock Benson, Robert Kramer, Verl Hite
                   Left to right in foreground: Ryan Goold, Christian Mast and Rick Yaconis
                                                      Photo credit to Rachael Graham

     I have to preface this review with the honest confession that after the tragedies in the news in late 2012 the last thing I wanted to do was to start the New Year off with anything violent. So I came to the theatre with a very negative mind set. It was going to be hard for this unknown (to me) playwright and very fine cast and director to win me over.
     And win me over they did! The Edge Theatre commissioned “Newark Violenta” and I am told that Jonson Kuhn “knocked this play out in a week.” Of course it would be tweaked in rehearsal. All plays are. But I have to say that this playwright has a gift for structure, dialogue and creating a sense of place that is undeniable. It’s possible that the viewer may compare this non-linear homage to the Poliziotteschi film genre (Italian stories of crime and mafia) to the screenplays of Quentin Tarrantino.
     So perhaps it goes without saying that those who get queasy stomachs at the sight of stage blood or who are offended by the activities of low life scumbags such as Jonson so accurately creates here should wait for a production that is less vulgar.
     The cast includes Denver favorites Robert Kramer, Christian Mast and Rick Yaconis.
     Verl Hite turns in a fine performance as Mafia Boss Frank Giallo. It’s perhaps this reviewer’s personal favorite of all of Hite’s work thus far.
     Ryan Goold is a hoot as an overweight mafia stooge with a penchant for saying just the wrong thing at just the right time in an incredibly hilarious manner.
     It is, however, Brock Benson who steals the show as a cocaine snorting pig, whose every word and action is riveting and yes, disgusting. Benson’s performance as Dick Callus is nevertheless hilarious and well, just plain brilliant! For his performance alone those who like this genre should rush to get a ticket.
     The shoe-shining set-up in scene one was a little slow getting the show started but hold on to your hats! After that it’s a roller coaster ride.
     Once we get past the first scene Richard Cowden does a nice job pacing this show. Lighting and Scenic Designer Kelly Hasbrouck manages to do wonders shifting our attention from a seedy motel room to a sleazy (Can you spell filth?) sex club.

The show is for Mature Audiences only!

Fri. / Sat. @ 8 p.m.; Sun. @ 6 p.m.
Tickets are $20 adult / $16 student & senior ($15 advance purchase)
303-232-0363 or online at
The Edge Theater, 9797 W. Colfax Ave., Lakewood, CO 80215.  Free Parking. Marlowe's Musings

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