Review On Clarissant

Danny Bell


Clarissant is phenomenal. I walked into the show excited for the premise but concerned as to how they would pull it off considering that most of the performers pull double duty, but I loved how it turned out. Clarrisant is an original stort based on Arthurian legend where the title character of Clarrisant looks to the past to determine her future. In this way a story develops as we watch the knights and kings of yesterday play out the events of their life and ultimately, their deaths. There was a lot to love here. Betsy Roth's costumes and the set design of Kate Woodruff and Allison Darby Gorjian set the tone of the entire production and were used to great effect, the costumes in particular having an authentic feel that wasn't all suits of armor, but rather leather and furs to give a sense of the wild nature of the time. The writing of Hailey Bachrach was very well researched and set out a clear message and the director, the above mentioned Allison Darby Gorjian, finds a way to bring it to life. The cast is where the play truly shines, however, and everyone deserves praise. Paula Deming is the focal point of the story and is anxiety inducing with her indecisiveness and desperation. Karissa McKinney and Linzi Graham play Lynette and Lyonor, the sisters in law, to perfection with each adding a sense of counterbalance to the other as they advise and steer Clarrisant towards her destiny. Lynette wanting to be patient, but understanding their urgency and Lyonor who wants to be practical, but as the story develops you get a real sense of pain and depth to the character. In fact, Linzi Graham, Kym Allen, and Whitton Frank share what is perhaps my favorite scene of the performance as Frank, playing King Arthur, gives Allen, playing a Sir Gareth, a quest to escort Lyonor. Kym Allen plays Sir Gareth with such earnestness and makes the romance between them so believable that knowing the fate of Sir Gareth ahead of time makes the performance that much more heartbreaking. And Linzi Graham for her part doesn't allow you to forget, really selling the pain and anger of losing someone like that. Whitton Frank plays her dual roles masterfully, first as the roguish Mordred but then filling the stage as the majestic King Arthur. Whitton portrays the weight of responsibility in a way that will make you not envy the position of a king. Renèe Torchio MacDonald brings out one of the most intense performances as Sir Gaheris, with an anger that could be felt in the audience. Olivia Choate balanced the roles of the very studious Sir Gawain with the lovable but quietly dangerous Sir Lancelot. Dawn Alden delivers palpable impatience as Agravain which is then tempered by her contemplative Lady Guinevere. Top to bottom the production had my rapt attention and I can't wait to get back and see it again.