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Review: In a Dark, Dark House

In a Dark, Dark House, written by Neil LaBute, produced by Simpatico Theatre Project, directed by Harriet Power, featuring Allen Radway, Ahren Potratz and Mary Beth Shrader, reviewed by Wendy Rosenfield.

While Drew connects with the world and its people, he slips out of everyone's grasp. Terry, damaged beyond repair, always seems to be straining against himself and winning, but just barely, and Radway plays him like a loser's Don Draper.

When he meets Mary Beth Shrader's Jennifer, she's toeing the line between knowingness and naivete. But it doesn't really matter; the whole encounter is in Terry's hands. As he reels her in and lets her out, he tightens and loosens his grip on a golf club. We want her to run and we want him to vanquish his demons, and we have no idea how anything will end.

Radway's performance is as intense and compressed as anything I've seen on a Philly stage, and in the Walnut Street Theatre's claustrophobic Studio 5, with Jerold Forsyth's sun-bleached lighting on Colin McIlvaine's bare, bleached wood set, there is little mercy or softness to be found. But then, why would anyone look to Neil LaBute for comfort?

Presented by Simpatico Theatre Project through June 1 at the Walnut Street Theatre's Studio 5, 825 Walnut St. Tickets: $10-$25. Information: 215-423-0254 or