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Criminal Hearts light, surprising fun
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Criminal Hearts light, surprising fun

by Miryam Gordon - SGN A&E Writer

Criminal Hearts
Artattack Theater Ensemble at VoxBox
Through August 15


Congratulations are in order to Artattack Theater for finding a "home" where space is at a premium. They have created a space that they are calling VoxBox in the basement of a building with lots of small business offices and a health/book store at 1205 Pike. Artattack's current production is Criminal Hearts by Jane Martin, who the press material describes as "America's best-known unknown playwright."

Criminal Hearts has a fun premise: A female burglar enters an apartment only to find the apartment cleaned out by a rat of a husband, and all the woman in the apartment has is a mattress, pizza boxes, lots and lots and lots of Dr. Pepper, and a phone. They decide to steal back all the stuff the husband took from his wife.

Bo, played by Devin Rodger, is a burglar, and seems like she likes it. Rodger plays her very enigmatically, and sometimes she doesn't say much, so watching her watch the scene is also interesting. There is a raw sexuality about her, even though she tamps it down.

Ata, played by Andrea Nelson, is a mess. She is agoraphobic and prone to muscle freezes when she's scared. She sharpens pencils to relax and dopes herself up with Dr. Pepper. Ata is a very strange character. Nelson does a nice job with this odd role, but pretty much starts and continues on the same level throughout the whole play. She shivers and quakes and quavers no matter what the context is. It would be nice to see her find different moods where Ata has changes in personality, and more depth.

Justin Lockwood plays Robbie, Bo's sidekick burglar who waits downstairs with the truck. A small role at first, Robbie gets more and more attracted to Ata, and has some pretty funny moments. And finally, there is Wib (these names are really odd, aren't they?), the nasty husband, played with eerie accuracy by Martyn Krouse. Wib is almost creepily nice about getting robbed, but his abusive side becomes very apparent.

The method they use to steal back all her stuff is really funny, and one feels great about their managing the heist. Then Wib comes to get all of it back, and Ata has to figure out if she is capable of standing her ground with him, and finally getting free.

The script breaks a lot of stereotypes for burglars and agoraphobics, and has some surprising twists. You probably won't quite know what's going to happen, which is a good thing. For more information, go to www.artattacktheatre.org or www.brownpapertickets.com or call 800-838-3006.

Comments on reviews go to sgncritic@gmail.com.

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