Shotgun’s Black Rider dances with the devil

Nov 26

Black Rider 1
The cast of Shotgun Players’ The Black Rider includes (from left) Grace Ng as Wilhelm, Noelle Viñas as Kätchen, Steven Hess as Bertram / Old & Young Kuno, Elizabeth Carter as Anne, Kevin Clarke as Old Uncle / Devil, El Beh as Robert / George Schmid, Rotimi Agbabiaka as Pegleg. Photo by Cheshire Isaacs

Thirteen years ago – such an appropriate number of years – American Conservatory Theater made some sort of deal with the devil to get The Black Rider onto the stage of the Geary Theater. This dark, delicious musical by the powerhouse trio of director/designer Robert Wilson, writer William S. Burroughs and composer Tom Waits was to the world of musical theater what “Twin Peaks” was to the world of network television.

Now Berkeley’s Shotgun Players revive this decidedly adult fairy tale under the guidance of director Mark Jackson, and the results are heartily satisfying.

I reviewed the production for Theatermania.com. Here’s a sample:

Director Jackson’s lively production immediately strikes a mad carnival tone, combining the feel of a sideshow with vaudeville brio and dingy showbiz razzmatazz for a Rider that feels energized by the sheer joy of telling a grim story weighted by moral and metaphor. At only 100 minutes, the show has the speed of a magic bullet, but Jackson never makes it feel rushed.

Read the full review here.

FOR MORE INFORMATION
The Black Rider: The Casting of the Magic Bullets continues through Dec. 31 in a Shotgun Players production at the Ashby Stage, 1901 Ashby Ave., Berkeley. Tickets are $25-$40. Call 510-841-6500 or visit www.shotgunplayers.org.

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