Elsie (Rachel Holt) and Abby (Brittany Kvitko) are the title characters of SISTERS OF ELLERY HOLLOW BY STEPHEN SPOTSWOOD. The aforementioned hollow is actually a valley, set so deep that sunlight only reaches it for one hour each day. The two sisters in tandem tell a story of their little town, and how they came to be. Unfortunately, author Stephen Spotswood can’t pick what kind of story the story is supposed to be. It veers from a fairy tale to a Just-So story, then to a tall tale and then into Italo Calvino territory. The rules of this world are muddy – is magic real, or is it all exaggeration for effect, or is it a cover to discuss painful truths yet to be acknowledged? It would be fine to leave such questions unanswered, except that Spotswood hasn’t decided for himself.
Holt and Kvitko are engaging performers, and their enthusiasm is appreciated. But director Jennifer John doesn’t modulate that enthusiasm, and so their cheeriness quickly becomes a sort of drone. The show, which is all about loss and violence in a dark corner of the world, is too bright – it has no real darkness to it at all [The Swing at MacGuffin at the Adrienne] September 7-18, 2014; fringearts.com/sisters-of-ellery-