“25 Saints” Produced by Azeotrope, performed at ACT

Some years ago in a tiny theatre north of Chicago I saw a play that was so potent, it left me weak, and I still think about it. It was “Killer Joe” by a then unknown named Tracy Letts, who has since won a Pulitzer Prize and is now regarded as one of our finest playwrights. I give you this seemingly irrelevant information because “25 Saints” by Joshua Rollins had the same impact on me as did “Killer Joe.” This is a powerhouse of a play, and Azeotrope’s production gives it everything it deserves.


Photo by Todd Hobert

It’s violent, harrowing, gut wrenching. It’s about fierce people who never really had a chance, people caught up in tawdry lives, people blackmailed into criminal behavior, manipulated and used. There’s not a weak member in the cast. Richard Nguyen Sloniker and Tim Gouran do despicable things, yet your heart goes out to them. Like flies caught in a spider’s web they struggle as the web draws tighter and tighter until it chokes off all life. Bravura performances!

And the girl friends/accomplices cause the audience to wince for their plight and recoil at the perfidy. James Lapan as the sheriff makes it clear that evil exists in this world and can be found is unexpected places.

Director Desdemona Chiang and her production crew give this explosive play the effects it requires. Effects so powerful for a production so powerful, you might find yourself needing a few moments before you gain the strength to pick yourself up and move on out of the theatre.

Through Nov. 24 in The Eulalie Scandiuzzi Space at ACT Theatre, 700 Union Street, Seattle, (206 292-7676 or acttheatre.org).

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