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Red-Eye to Havre de Grace

  • Theater, Drama
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

Red-Eye to Havre de Grace. New York Theatre Workshop (see Off Broadway). By Lucidity Suitcase Intercontinental. Dir. Thaddeus Phillips. With Ean Sheehy. 1hr 35mins. No intermission.

Red-Eye to Havre de Grace: In brief

The theater company Lucidity Suitcase Intercontinental collaborates with Minneapolis musical duo Wilhelm Bros. & Co.—perhaps because both groups sound like rejected Wes Anderson projects—to create an "action-opera" about the final days of Edgar Allan Poe. Thaddeus Phillips directs and designs.

Red-Eye to Havre de Grace: Theater review by Adam Feldman

It is fitting that Edgar Allan Poe, who helped invent the genre of detective fiction, ended his life in mystery. In October 1849, the bard of the macabre was found wandering the streets of Baltimore, incoherent, dressed in someone else’s clothes; he died a few days later, with no explanation of how he had gotten there. Lucidity Suitcase Intercontinental’s Red-Eye to Havre de Grace offers a stylish and imaginative account of those final days: Poe (Sheehy) drifts through a fugue of hotel rooms and train rides, haunted throughout by the silent, prowling spirit of his young bride, Virginia (Alessandra Larson), who died of consumption two years earlier.

Much of the text is drawn from Poe’s most famous works—a running joke finds people asking him to recite his greatest hit, “The Raven”—often cleverly set to music by the gifted Wilhelm Bros. & Co. (David plays piano; Jeremy sings and fills a number of small roles). As conceived and staged by Thaddeus Phillips, with special help from Drew Billiau’s beautifully shaped lighting, the play dabbles in mild anachronism and gentle comedy, but is mostly a study in compellingly morbid visuals: gloom with a view.—Theater review by Adam Feldman

THE BOTTOM LINE Phillips paints an evocative picture of a poet’s wife-and-death struggle.

Follow Adam Feldman on Twitter: @FeldmanAdam

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