100% 70s

Ashley Khan reviews THE SANDMAN

Lynn Navarra has given us a play filled with secrets. The Sandman, a bar in the crime-covered 70s, has hidden cocaine stashes, moonlighting cops (that’s bad) who discover this (that’s good). We meet the Irish Mafia, an actress in the last act of her life, and all the characters that gravitate to such an atmosphere.

The Sandman clocked in at three hours but little of it wasted. What you experience is a panorama of a time and attitude as seen through the people in it.

sandman poster 3Command of the language, whether it was the Irish brogues or 70s style were excellent. The brilliant ensemble cast of Michael Bordwell, Meredith Flood Rust, AJ Converse, Brady Richards, Ken Coughlin, Tony Scheer, Ben Guralnik, Dan Lane Williams, Justin Younts, and Valerie O’Hara, supplied perfect notes to this suspenseful symphony.  Costuming spared conveyed the now period-piece era beautifully.

The expansive stage of the American Theatre of Actors was well-used and the detailed set by Ken Coughlin – who directed the piece – and played the lead – was eye-filling. Seems Coughlin is an auteur of rare [multi] talent.

It’s hard to keep an audience in suspense for this long  time unless you’re Alfred Hitchcock of Steven Spielberg but Lynn Navarra was up for the task. While modern commercial sensibilities demand a shorter experience. Die-hard theatre-goers will find it a refreshing return to a meatier time in theatre.  Navarra’s style allows marvelous pictures to form in your head.

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