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Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2012

'Wittenberg' Makes for Fun Trip to Windfall Theatre

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Some of the appeal of a show in an intimate studio theater lies in the simple pleasure of hanging out with charismatic people playing interesting characters. Such is the case with Windfall Theatre's production of David Davalos' Wittenberg. With thoughtful, intellectual charm, David Flores plays an early-16th-century European professor of philosophy grappling with sociocultural conservatism. Robert W.C. Kennedy summons inner intensity as a professor of theology. Kyle Queenan plays a student of both professors, in a role of royalty wracked with a litany of problems. The fact that the three of them play Faust, Martin Luther and Hamlet, respectively, are details that only add to what is a really fun trip to the theater.

Admittedly, the show is far from perfect. While it is enjoyable, the idea that Faust, Luther and Hamlet meet prior to the big events that would shape their lives seems a bit contrived in places. The plot is brilliantly woven together, but the dialogue can feel a touch forced. That being said, the ensemble nicely overcomes the drawbacks of the script by rendering performances close to the heart of the characters' emotions and inner conflicts.

Lindsey L. Gagliano lends balance to numerous scenes in a variety of roles, most notably that of Gretchen, who serves the two professors beer at the local bar. Her characters are only there for emphasis, but she does a really good job of distinguishing them as individuals.

Windfall Theatre's production of Wittenberg continues through March 3 at Village Church Arts, 130 E. Juneau Ave. For ticket reservations, call 414-332-3963.