The Mountaintop (review)
THE PLAY: A hotel maid delivers coffee to the room of Dr. Martin Luther King on the night before his assassination. Their rambunctious exchange changes his life.
THE PRODUCTION: Take two of Richmond’s finest actors and give them a director who focuses on crafting characters with a compelling connection: The result is an imminently rewarding relationship (for them and us). This play is a surprisingly humorous historical fantasy, not a dramatic examination of King’s legacy. Thankfully, the duo on stage has mined the comedy and complexity of their characters. Jerold E. Solomon is simply brilliant as he fleshes out King’s humanity, while still allowing flashes of the flair that made him a great leader. Katrinah Carol Lewis is equally compelling, playing the sassy maid with captivating charm. Director Laine Satterfield has guided the actors with assured staging, but more importantly, has focused on their dynamic interactions. Even so, the dramatic revelations late in the show lost some momentum and the ending seemed abrupt. Rich Mason has designed a perfect bland hotel room and positioned it with artistic flair. It’s given even more theatrical appeal with his expressive lighting. The constant drone of Jesse Senechal’s sound design adds an emotive layer, but was too loud throughout. (Bring it up to establish the mood, then let it recede).
THE POINT: With subtle, yet masterful skill, this duo brings out the humor and humanity of this surprisingly entertaining imaginary encounter.
(5 / 5)
A production of Cadence Theatre Company in partnership with Va Rep thru 3/12