‘Almost Blue’ brought drama and intrigue to stage


Photo credit Mary Hautman.

On the stage of Union Arts March 22 and 23, “Almost Blue” made the hearts of  the audience and actors alike pound from beginning to end. The noir drama by Keith Reddin mixed laughter and drama while tackling  a guilt-driven plot.

Freshman Jake Crosen played Phil, the show’s protagonist. Phil is a recently released ex-convict, who Crosen dubs a “deeply troubled dude.”

“On the surface he seems a little cliché but, in reality, he’s a much more interesting character with small, dark quirks,” Crosen said.

Phil is coping with the guilt and depression that goes along with “getting out.” Blue, a first-rate pornographer and Phil’s neighbor, brings mystery to the show as he visits Phil every day to offer advice and play cards. Blue is also the reason that Liz, the wife of a former prison mate and Phil’s current  love interest, enters the story. As Phil and Liz form a stronger relationship, Steve, Liz’s supposedly dead husband, shows up at Phil’s door.

Angry at Liz for calling the police and testifying against him, Steve gives Phil two choices: kill Liz or die himself. Phil decides to send Liz away to make it look like he killed her. He plans to join his lover later and trusts Blue with their escape plans. Blue later explains that he killed Liz and that Phil no longer has to leave. In a fit of rage, Phil kills Blue, only to have Liz burst through the door seconds later, wearing his clothes, asking “What are you waiting for?”

Junior Lincoln Sklar directed “Almost Blue,” and couldn’t be more pleased with the show.

“When casting the show, we looked for versatile actors. ‘Almost Blue’ is a dark show with dark comedy and a lot of emotion,” Sklar said.  “We wanted actors that we felt could handle the range of acting required for the show and that also seemed comfortable working together.”

Crosen was spot-on with the emotional complexity of Phil. Lindsay Bannister gave a stunning yet sassy performance as Liz, and Max Pendell scared the hell out of all of us as Steve.

Audience members were captivated by the acting and drama of the show.

“I thought the show was amazing.” freshman Holly Blaha said. “It felt as though I was watching something completely real; it didn’t feel like a play. I didn’t know what to expect, which kept me on the edge of my seat. I was entertained and wide-eyed the entire time.”

Sophomore Ryant Taylor found himself on his toes, carefully examining the plot of the show.

“I thought the show was wonderful. One thing I loved in particular was the gradual reveal of information and back story about the character…throughout the entire thing I was constantly wondering who these people were and how things would end for them,” Taylor said. “I loved it.”

“Almost Blue” was a Your Lost Flamingo Company production. The organization meets every Tuesday at 7 p.m. in Baker Center, and always welcomes newcomers. Their other productions for the semester are “Vaudeville,” a musical, and “Wait Until Dark,” a play.

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