Friday, November 18, 2011

SVSU's "Incorruptible" delightfully irreverent and well acted

review by Janet I. Martineau
Make no bones about it, Saginaw Valley State University’s production of “Incorruptible” is delightfully irreverent.
It is about bones, see. The ones of Catholic saints who supposedly work miracles when the faithful pray before them. Well, make that the bones supposedly of saints. 
Seems some desperate monks in a 1250 French monastery come up with a money-raising scheme that would make Bernie Madoff proud.
Nuf’ said, in case you go to see this show running through Sunday in the Performing Arts Theatre. It’s a comedy, a kinda dark one, filled with slapstick, double entendres, a nun gone wild and, as noted, irreverence.

Dakotah Myers, Cassidy Morey and David Ryan
Director David Rzeszutek’s program notes simply state “this sort of thing really happened.”

Whatever the case, he has directed a strong production.
The cast of eight is strong, speaking clearly and loudly for the most part and with all the high energy the show requires. 
Set designer Jerry Dennis (a real-life miracle maker) has created a set oozing with monastery atmosphere -- dark and kinda dank, crosses everywhere, flickering candles. 

Pre-show and at intermission monk music plays. And Elise Shannon’s costumes look very monk-ly as well.

What we are not sure about is the haircuts on the monks....are they real and these poor students have to walk around campus like this until they grow out, or are they theater magic. Sure look real.
As for the performances, as we said all eight are superb. But three are a cut above.
Cassidy Morey has a small role as a caustic and elderly  Peasant Woman seeking to pray before the bones of a departed saint. Except she does not have the 1 cent that requires. Turns out Peasant Woman will appear off and on and is more related to the developing story than first thought. And from start to finish, Morey nails this teetering but testy old character rock solid in her voice inflections and body English, with every word spoke crystal clear.  Delightful performance.
Rustin Myers is one of the four monks, named Charles. As an actor, Myers consistently  has a wonderful stage presence. He never hurries his lines, even when he is in the midst of a panic. He is stately, assured, has a deadly sense of timing, never drifts too far abroad in his characterization as some of the other cast members do on occasion.  He is  so very real and so very funny as a result.
And then there is Mykaela Hopps in a very short role -- as Agatha, an abbess from another church and who happens to be the dreaded  sister of Charles. Agatha is the nun from hell -- a screaming, in-your-face, domineering woman in a habit who, at one point, all but rips apart the stage in her rage.
Can’t ever recall seeing a character  in any play I have seen erupt with such rage and fury all in the name of comedy, At the zenith of her rage, Hopps blurs her lines. And in some aspects she is more caricature than character. But who cares. The physicality of her performance is what we remember.
Kudos too to David Ryan as Olf, the monk who is not too bright but whose body strength comes in handy. Ryan plays him tenderly. And kudos as well to  David Milka II, a one-eyed minstrel-become-fake-monk. He starts out a little slow as the minstrel (at least he did Thursday night), but at the slapstick end he is a whirlwind of energy and timing.
Fun show.


  1. Great review of a great show!

  2. I thought it was a disappointment.