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Arts & Culture

Live Active Cultures

Reviews of Joseph Hayes’ “Slow Ride” and Playwrights’ Round Tables “Summer Shorts”

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Emma (Kimberly Luffman) memorializes victims of gun violence in endless notebooks, attempting to exorcise her painful past. This is more a polemic than a play, namedropping Aurora, Sandy Hook and Trayvon. Luffman emotes effectively, but has little character or context to play.

Adapt by Ryan Bernier, directed by Gary Norris

Heartbroken parents (Mike Osowski, Terri Schmidt) agonize in the aftermath of a mass killing while trying to comfort their son’s guilt-ridden best friend (Matt Carroll). A mirror image of 50 Guns, the raw emotions here are appropriately overwrought, offering no easy answers about the power of forgiveness in the face of evil.

How You Will Die by Irene L. Pynn, directed by Rob Cunha

A sepulchral shopkeeper (Sean Kerrigan) offers an unusual object to two credulous customers (BeeJay Clinton, Kendra Musselle): a mirror that purports to reveal how the gazer will perish. Some of the rapid-fire dialogue sounds under-rehearsed, but there’s a fine mix of mirth and macabre in this Tales From the Crypt-inspired stinger.

Inheritance by David Strauss, directed by Jo’el Perez

The ties that bind a pair of small-time Philly crooks (Jim Cundiff, Rob Del Medico) strain to the snapping point after an unauthorized heist puts the mob on their tail. Strauss has an ear for Reservoir Dogs-meets-Sopranos dialogue, and Cundiff’s muscular portrayal of a broken man makes for compelling viewing through to the nihilistic conclusion.

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