Entering the Adrienne’s Skybox into Liam’s Sofa Cushion Fortress Philadelphia premiere production of TRAVELING LIGHT, I was worried. I normally abhor plays hinged around real-life famous people, like Steve Martin’s uber-intellectual Picasso at Lapin Agile. And the playbill for LIGHT lists two famous names: playwright Joe Orton (Doug Greene) and Beatles manager Brian Epstien (Bob Stineman). Then Kyra Baker (W. P.C. Foster) walks in through the gate of the staunch brick-walled London cemetery and gravel crunches beneath her police shoes. it’s clear even before W. P.C. Foster unflinchingly delivers (in a crisp London accent) the grisly details of 34-year-old Orton’s murder on the morning of August 9, 1967, and 32-year-old Eptein’s accidental death 18 days later: this play has weight. Scenic designer Kevin Jordan grounds this impressive cast in tiny bits of gravel!
Why do the gravel bits beneath the actors feet get praise here before Lindsay Harris Friel’s sophisticated, fastidiously researched script or the exquisitely delicate direction of the Liam Castellan? I could report to you an intoxicating intimacy between Epstien and Orton built around a silk shirt and a deliberate tug at a belt buckle, or you can run up to the very top of the Adrienne and see it for yourself. To quote Joe (Orton): “Print is less effective than the spoken word because the blast is greater.” [Skybox @ the Adrienne] September 6-14, 2013. fringearts.ticketleap.com/traveling-light-by-lindsay-harris-friel.