Saturday, June 5, 2010

Actors' Playhouse: Unreasonable Doubt (4 reviews)

Actors' Playhouse opened it world premiere production of Michael McKeever's Unreasonable Doubt on May 14, 2010.
...a penetrating look at American justice and how it sometimes fails the society it’s meant to protect with revenge and redemption intersecting in this thought-provoking drama. Unable to touch the man who savagely raped and murdered his daughter, Ty Boswoth does the next best thing; he kidnaps the defense lawyer who put the killer back on the street. Unreasonable Doubt uses one family’s tragedy to explore the impact of a legal system grown ineffectual in our society, as a tiny cabin in the woods becomes a courtroom from the American justice system itself.
(Winner of the Actors' Playhouse Pen to Stage contest)
David Arisco directed a cast that included Gordon McConnell, Terrence Hardcastle, Barbara Bradshaw, Antonio Amadeo, Patt Gardner and Sandi Jean.

The Sun-Sentinel has declined to review this production.*

John LaRiviere reviewed for Talkin'
The set for this production is the detailed main room of the cabin. Since the cabin is described as small, references to keeping Burke in the unseen den seem odd, as one wonders where the bedrooms are located.
McConnell's performance as Ty is haunting, and his character's pain is palpable. McConnell gives us layers of flawed logic and motivation like a flower dropping petals as it dies. Hardcastle is rather straightforward in his performance. Burke is a lawyer who was just doing his job, realizing too late that the man he was defending was guilty. The writing for the character of Terry puts Amadeo at a disadvantage. Terry seems to have no clear commitment to the understanding of the enormity of what he has agreed to do. At one point, his character seems to be comedically out of the movie Fargo. It doesn't quite fit. Patti Gardner has a serene presence that calms the tension of the piece. She, Bradshaw and the rest of the cast work together beautifully in this production of Unreasonable Doubt.
Brandon K Thorp reviewed for the Miami New Times:
Unreasonable Doubt is a mess... The play's messiness has nothing to do with the cast (stellar), set (ditto), or even David Arisco's direction... The play's problems are purely textual, and only its author can fix them.
I hope he will, because Unreasonable Doubt could be an important play...
...the play's central idea is so very worth contemplating. No one wants to live in a country where an alleged criminal can be punished without due process, because we all know that, in such a system, we could all be bound for the gaol. As revolted as we might feel by the work of a skilled defense attorney — Johnny Cochran, say — most of us understand his existence is a necessary evil.
Roger Martin reviewed for Miami
The pleasure begins immediately, watching (McConnell and Hardcastle) arc their way through Michael McKeever's Unreasonable Doubt, receiving its world premiere at Actors' Playhouse.
There's a fine cast working on Gene Seyffer's excellent set besides McConnell and Hardcastle: Antonio Amadeo (brother Terry Bosworth), Barbara Bradshaw (widowed step-mother Willa Bosworth), Patti Gardner (Bosworth's ex-wife Claire Hoffman) and Sandi Jean (daughter Alexandra Bosworth).
Christine Dolen reviewed for The Miami Herald:
Though the plot may sound altogether grim, you should know that McKeever isn't that kind of playwright. With the help of director David Arisco and a first-rate cast, Unreasonable Doubt becomes an examination of bedrock virtue and contrition as well as theforever-altered loved ones of a murder victim.
Working on Gene Seyffer's beautifully detailed version of a knotty pine cabin, the cast delivers a fine, always watchable first production of Unreasonable Doubt. Hardcastle makes Burke self-satisfied, then terrified. Amadeo and Bradshaw lighten the intensity, and Jean is a zen-like presence as Alexandra. Patti Gardner is a radiant presence as Ty's ex-wife Claire. The truly superb performance, however, comes from McConnell. The layers of complexity he brings to Ty, the torment and longing he conveys, simply magnify the impact of Unreasonable Doubt.
Unreasonable Doubt plays at Actors' Playhouse at the Miracle Theater through June 6, 2010.


  1. Chris:

    You know I love you, which is why I am sad sad sad when you forget to pimp one of my reviews. I covered this one and the Florida Stage dealio this week. :0(

    - BKT

  2. I'm getting to them; I had a long day at the day job.

  3. Couldn't have been a more appropriate word -- "PIMP". Completely describes the quality of writing in his reviews.