‘Neverwhere’ at Robinson Secondary School

Greeted by industrial steel pipes, cinder block archways and concrete tunnels, the London Underground welcomes the unsuspecting audience down into its dimly lit corridors.

 L: Garrett Christian as Mr. Croup and  Alex Bulova as Mr. Vandemar right. Photo by Dianne Janczewski.

L: Garrett Christian as Mr. Croup and Alex Bulova as Mr. Vandemar right. Photo by Dianne Janczewski.

Newspapers litter the stage, the rubbish of city living accenting the concrete, adding to the mystery of not knowing what might be lurking, hiding in each darkened alley way, under each scrap of paper.

A projecting television on the back wall announces the title of the show: NEVERWHERE.

A back and forth medley of London above and London below is timed out with speedy interludes of transitions from flat to the tube to office to the streets to the dark London below, the crew and some cast members roll on each set of scenery with brevity and ease

Full of cutthroat adventure and a desire to escape from the stereotype of normal life, Richard Mayhew makes the daring decision to help a strange woman in need on the street. In a rush of travel through time and space, multiple planes of existence come into play and the audience is swept down the rabbit hole, transported to OZ, and flown off in a whirl that any Doctor Who fan would be proud of.

Lady Door, played by Rachel Ingle, is a damsel in distress on a mission for vengeance. Her strong convictions and acceptance of the fact that Richard Mayhew follows her with puppy-dog loyalty but knows absolutely nothing about what happens in the world other than the ease of living in London, with a job and a flat and a fiancée. Ingle is a fantastic leading lady, bringing a sunshine disposition to what some might call the underbelly of London.

Matthew Cook, is the Lady Door’s sassy best friend. Keeping the time-travel weary going and reminding not only Richard, but the audience that sometimes just going with the flow and not thinking too hard about what’s happening is the way to go.

Matthew Ross as Richard Mayhew tries to keep a grasp on reality with his Scottish lilt and can-do attitude, the audience waits with bated breath for our hero to emerge successful.

Matt Ross (Richard Mayhew), Sarah Marksteiner (Angel Islington) center, Alex Bulova (Mr. Vandemar) right of center, Rachel Ingle (Lady Door), Garrett Christian (Mr. Croup) far left,. Photo by Dianne Janczewski.

Matt Ross (Richard Mayhew), Sarah Marksteiner (Angel Islington) center, Alex Bulova (Mr. Vandemar) right of center, Rachel Ingle (Lady Door), Garrett Christian (Mr. Croup) far left,. Photo by Dianne Janczewski.

Featuring assassins and lovers of peril, Mr. Croup and Mr. Vandemar, Garrett Christian and Alex Bulova respectively, know that “you can’t make an omelet without killing a few people” and bring their swagger to the stage as wordsmiths with their comedic timing, their performance is a must-see.

Matthew Cook as the Marquis de Carrabas. Photo by Dianne Janczewski

Matthew Cook as the Marquis de Carrabas. Photo by Dianne Janczewski

Adding to the list of hilarity, the cast is rounded out with a few puppets, Crrplrrr the pigeon and Master Longtail the rat, puppeteered by Hasan Crawford. There is also a cameo by a familiar Robinson face.

The lighting created each scene and added to each different effect with moving head lights. Actors were given the opportunity to play with multiple levels, spaces highlighted by Shannon Williams, Kyle Ronyecs, and Analise Scruggs’ design.

Neverwhere is driven by original music by Mikaela Reid, Sam Sikora, Andie Matten, and Chris Mayhew.

With Stage Combat by Neverwhwe, the show never lacks a moment of action, some moments pierced with the gruesome fighting skills of an era lost to us above-grounders.

For those thriving for adventure, seeking an escape, and perhaps even a chance at glory, go to Robinson this weekend for Neverwhere.

Neverwhere plays tonight at 8 PM, tomorrow at 7:30 PM and SundayMay 9th at 2:30 PM at Robinson Secondary School – 5035 Sideburn Road, in Fairfax, VA. Tickets are available at the door or online.

RATING: FIVE-STARS-82x1555.gif

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