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Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Milwaukee Crime Drama at Eastbrook

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Morningstar Productions' ends its season with Alan Atwood's Captive. The contemporary crime drama is set on Milwaukee's North Side. Deleono Johnson brings a satisfying complexity to the stage in the role of Clay, a troubled young man on the run after witnessing the death of a close friend. Clay is no angel, but neither is Tilly. As the play begins, Tilly is a complete stranger to Clay, who has run into her home to hide. Lori Woodall-Schaufler avoids quite a few clichés and turns out a respectably charming performance as a pious woman with a rather curious relationship with fear.

Morningstar Productions is a Christian theater group, but Atwood's script keeps more than enough distance from religion to reach deep into the heart of human connection in a way that's enjoyable for general audiences. 

The script itself has a nice rhythm. It has a solidly constructed beginning and a satisfying ending. Somewhere in between it runs approximately half an hour too long, but this is more or less forgivable as Johnson and Woodall-Schaufler build up a compelling connection.

The give and take of emotional aggression between Clay and Tilly is fun to watch in the early part of the story, but Atwood over-renders some of the dialogue and things get murky toward the middle of the drama.

The play picks up towards the end with a resolution that involves David Sapiro cutting a stylishly precise figure as an undercover Milwaukee cop.

Captive runs through June 21 at Eastbrook Church, 5353 N. Green Bay Ave. For ticket reservations, call 414-228-5220 ext. 385.