“All Through the Night” – Theater Works

This review aired on KBAQ April 23, 2012


Theatre Works, McMillin Theater, Peoria Center for the Performing Arts
Peoria, AZ

We all know the atrocities of Hitler and the Nazi regime but seeing how this dreadful period impacted five ordinary women provides personalized insight in Theater Works nicely staged Arizona premiere production of Shirley Lauro’s “All Through the Night.”  The play takes place in the women’s memories as they look back on the challenges they faced and the resourceful ways they found to survive during this terrible period in German history.

The play begins as the Nazi’s were born.  As rules tightened, freedoms disappeared, and the hideous killings continued, these women hide babies, develop clandestine relationships with men, and figure out fascinating ways to alter truths so they can get jobs and live.  The play ends with the German defeat and the challenges faced as normal lives returned.

As directed by Richard Powers Hardt, the play is performed in the small McMillin Theatre where the audience becomes immersed in and part of the action.  The unit set serves as a variety of locations in and around Berlin where the action occurs.  Hardt’s simple staging focuses attention on the play and the mayhem thrown at the women.

To work, a production of “All Through the Night” must have superb acting and the five performers, two professional and three community actresses, are all tops.  As the narrator, Colette D’Antona plays Ludmilla with a laid back but forceful style.  She won’t let the Nazi’s stifle her but she never looses her resourcefulness to figure clever ways around life-altering rules.  Lesley Ariel Tutnick’s Angelika is a quick witted survivor who handles herself smartly as she forces her way into running a clinic where she harbors and employs the fugitive Friederike, played smartly by Carrie Ellen Jones, who hides her baby.  Meg Sprink plays Gretchen, the woman most impacted by the Nazis and yet the one who continues to rebel quietly.  Tall Tracy Payne has the perfect stature to play several stern, unbending German women who follow Nazi dictates to deal and survive the ridiculous mandates.

“All Through the Night” lets audiences see the impact of Nazi atrocities on everyday Germans and how they lived through the stupidities.  It’s the kind of serious play that community theaters like Theater Works often avoid but instead the viable west side theater presents it in a resourceful production that intensifies the play’s impact.  It continues through May 13.  For tickets, call the Peoria Center for the Performing Arts box office at 623-815-7930 or order tickets online at www.theaterworks.org.

Grade: B