in my humble opinion

Fringe 2004 - Review - The Lives of the Most Notorious Highwaymen - 5 stars
Fringe Day 2, Part 2 - August 7, 2004, 2:30pm

The Lives of the Most Notorious Highwaymen
Walking Shadow
Minneapolis Theatre Garage

Mom says, "That was so well done! The acting, the writing, the staging - they were all just terrific!"

I agree wholeheartedly with Mom. This one was great.

I had a feeling about this show and I was right.

The script is a well-woven tale of three disparate souls who end up robbing travelers on the highways of 18th century England for fun and profit - and not without a little flair. After all, even thievery and double-crossing is an art form. There is some honor among these three thieves, and even an unlikely romance and cross-dressing thrown in for good measure. They all hang togehter, and they all hang together, if you'll pardon the pun.

The script crackles right along. The staging is deceptively simple yet highly theatrical. No one misses a beat in this terrific ensemble.

Mom had one quibble and while I'm not sure I entirely agree, I can see her point. One of the actors is double cast in two different roles. One of the actors is a character who masquerades as a different character of their own design, but is nonetheless still the same person throughout. To have one person dissembling, and another just playing two roles for economy's sake was a little confusing. It might be interesting to poll the audience members the cast and crew know and see if it's a large or small issue for audiences in general.

This is the kind of new play production I go to the Fringe to see - smart, funny, and quick on its feet. While it's a great tale of adventure, at the same time it plays with issues of gender, class and identity without being the least heavy-handed.

Congratulations all around. Well done indeed. One of the best I've seen so far this year.

© Matthew A Everett
www.matthewaeverett.com