May 14

‘Panic’ is fascinated with Hitchcock.

by Jenna Shummoogum · 0 comments

Vertigo Theatre’s Panic is a play written by Joseph Goodrich, who is fascinated by the classic mystery genre. It’s a play that is a homage to the great Master of Suspense, Alfred Hitchcock.

The play tells of a famous American filmmaker Henry Lockwood (Stephen Hair) who is in Paris with his wife Emma Lockwood (Valerie Ann Pearson) for the premiere of his movie. Henry is then accused of a serious crime by Liliane Bernard (Sasha Berry) and Lockwood’s secretary Miriam Stockton (Jamie Konchak) tries to defend her boss and piece the real story together. Thrown into the mix is French critic Alain Duplay (Stafford Perry) who is in the process of interviewing Lockwood for a piece.

Panic presents a mystery that has some holes, even when everything is cleared up in the end. And one of the issues with the play is that it lags in the second half, in clearing everything up. Even after the curtains fall, there are questions about certain aspects of the narrative. When a gun shot rings out, the idea of calling the police is brought up and even threatened several times. The audience has to suspend belief that everyone involved thinks that it’s perfectly reasonable to not involve the authorities. It is also questionable that when Lockwood is accused of the violent crime, Stockton doesn’t even consider it to be true in any way, she is more focused on making sure she can get rid of any evidence. All for the love of mystery.

But that said, Panic does create suspense and intrigue around the story. This is due in part to some strong performances, and also to innovative video design. Hair puts forward a decent performance as Lockwood. Pearson is charming and brings a much needed levity to the play in her role. Konchak is solid as the eager and loyal Stockton. Kaely Dekker’s projection design adds to the play, running as the backdrop, behind Terry Gunvordahl’s set. Black and white video anchors the story in mystery.

Panic is not edge of your seat mystery theatre. But it does feature an interesting mystery as a homage to Hitchcock.

Panic plays at Vertigo Theatre until June 2nd. More information in available online.

Photo Credit: Benjamin Laird


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