Because of my experiences with their previous productions, I went in with high expectations for the latest Washington Ensemble Theatre production, The Mistakes Madeline Made. I was not disappointed. Written by Elizabeth Meriwether, with inspired direction by Michael Place, Madeline is heartbreakingly funny and brutally clear-eyed in its depiction of grief, survivor’s guilt and redemption.
A talented cast brings the piece to life on a deceptively simple set designed by Tommer Peterson and lit by Andrew D. Smith. Ray Tagavilla’s Wilson is extraordinary – bringing the energy of Jim Carrey with a charmingly balanced and measured sensitivity. Elise Hunt’s fierce performance as Edna is winning and touching and heartfelt, perfectly played against with the gifted Mary Bliss Mather‘s cold surface tension that belies the repressed boiling passions and resentments. With the truthful discomfort that both versions of the television series The Office churn up in me, Mary Bliss gives us the sense that she almost believes all the drivel about duty and doing a good job for the family that spews out of her mouth. Almost. Taylor Maxwell brings fine dramatic support as Buddy and Noah Benezra delivers strong comic energy in his multiple roles.
Tickets are available thought brownpapertickets.com. Go buy some.