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“Jailbait” Is a Darkly Comic Success

Tara Polhemus and Brian Yandle play Claire and Robert in Burning Coal Theatre Company's presentation of "Jailbait" as part of the Burning Coal's "Wait ‘Til You See This Series"

Tara Polhemus and Brian Yandle play Claire and Robert in Burning Coal Theatre Company‘s presentation of “Jailbait” as part of the Burning Coal’s “Wait ‘Til You See This Series”

What happens when two high school girls pretend to be adults, sneak into a club, and flirt with a couple of clueless older men? That is the question that Burning Coal Theatre’s Second Stage production of Jailbait attempts to answer, and the result is a thoughtful, well acted exploration of the lies and facades that go hand in hand with dating and mating rituals.

Friends Claire (Tara Polhemus) and Emmy (Anna Maria Vargas) set out to party with friends Robert (Brian Yandle) and Mark (Sean Brosnahan), respectively. The lovely Polhemus radiates innocence sans naivety and real depth as Claire, the more reluctant of the two girls. Yandle’s down-on-his-luck, recently dumped Robert counterbalances her perfectly, and when both of these actors’ charms combine, it makes for believable chemistry. The other two roles are tackled well, especially Brosnahan’s super sleazy (but not really so bad) portrayal of Mark.

Director Christine Zagrobelny challenges her actors to get up close and personal with the audience—sometimes a little too close for comfort, creating a show that is at times charming, sometimes wince-worthy, and always, always with a sense of foreboding lurking underneath the surface.

Jim Zagrobelny uses simple but innovative sets to take viewers seamlessly from Claire’s bedroom to the nightclub (and its bathrooms!), and to Mark’s apartment. The set, combined with Lexie Nichols’ cute costumes (one of the jailbait girls is clad in a clever homage to prison stripes) and gentle lighting touches by Joseph Amodel, make for a beautiful, strangely touching production that should be at the top of everyone’s must-see list this season.

SECOND OPINION: Oct. 1st Raleigh, NC CVNC review by Kate Dobbs Ariail: http://cvnc.org/article.cfm?articleId=5749. (Note: To read Triangle Arts & Entertainment’s online version of the Sept. 28th Triangle Theater Review preview by Robert W. McDowell, click http://triangleartsandentertainment.org/2012/09/just-in-time-for-the-presidential-election-artscenter-stage-is-presenting-44-plays-for-44-presidents/.)

Burning Coal Theatre Company presents JAILBAIT at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 4-6, and 2 p.m. Oct. 7 in the Murphey School Auditorium, 224 Polk St., Raleigh, North Carolina 27604.

TICKETS: $10. BOX OFFICE: jailbait.reservations@gmail.com.

INFORMATION: 919-834-4001.

SHOW: http://burningcoal.org/jailbait/.

VIDEO PREVIEW: https://vimeo.com/49906428.

SERIES: http://burningcoal.org/secondstage/.

PRESENTER: http://www.burningcoal.org/.

VENUE/DIRECTIONS: http://burningcoal.org/murphey-school-auditorium/.

OTHER LINKS:

The Play: http://www.dramatists.com/cgi-bin/db/single.asp?key=4116 (Dramatists Play Service, Inc.).

The Script: http://books.google.com/ (Google Books).

The Playwright: http://www.deirdreoconnor.com/ (official website).

The Director: https://www.facebook.com/christine.zagrobelny (Facebook).

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Categorised in: A&E Theatre Reviews, Lead Story, Reviews