Review "Neverwhere": Desired Destination!

Lifeline Theatre presents

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NEVERWHERE
at 6912 N. Glenwood
Based on Neil Gaiman's novel "Neverwhere"
Adapted by Robert Kauzlaric
Directed by Paul S. Holmquist
Thru July 18th
Buy Tickets
Running Time:  Two hours and thirty minutes includes a ten minute intermission

Reviewed by Katy Walsh

The term 'mind the gap' takes on new meaning as an unsuspecting nobody slips through the cracks to the London underworld.  Lifeline Theatre presents NEVERWHERE based on Neil Gaiman's bestselling novel.  Richard has a stressful job, pushy fiancé and troll collection.  One night, he notices an injured woman on the street.  By helping her, he gets sucked into a parallel world below London.  The damsel in distress is from a noble family with special powers for finding doors.  Her family has been killed.  She is being chased by hired assassins.  She recruits Richard to help her uncover the conspirator.   A legendary house has no doors. Mystical community coexists on train platforms. Death is not a final destination. The adventure jumps off the comic book page and onto Lifeline's stage.  Where can you find the intersection with a strong script, stellar cast and spectacular design?  NEVERWHERE!

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The fantasy journey starts with the execution of a tight script.  Robert Kauzlaric has adapted the complexity of the below London universe into manageable informative scenes.  The dark adventure unfolds with hilarious dialogue. Paul S. Holmquist directs the action with all the zing and whack worthy of any superheroes' quest for justice.  Holmquist's pace is pure Marvel page turner.  To create chaos, he recycles cast members in crowd scenes.  He's aided in the disguise by costume designer Elizabeth Powell Wislar.  The underworld garb is an eclectic explosion of renaissance fair meets the cartoon version of "Good Fellas" with healthy helpings of feathers, suede and rubber.  To hide the colorful wardrobe choices in crowd scenes, Wislar strategically puts dark hats and overcoats on the cast.  The vibrant dress is a strong contrast to the severe industrial style set.  Alan Donahue has transformed the Lifeline Theatre into below Gotham City.  It looks authentically gothic lit up with a bus station glow or shadowed in red by Kevin D. GawleyR&D Choreography brings the fight!  Mikhail Fiskail sets it all too original music.  It looks and sounds like these designers collaborative powers could rival the Hall of Justice league. 

The cast rules the underworld with humor and a barter system.  Kauzlaric (Richard) endears as the unlikely hero with a bumbling vulnerability and a strong Scottish accent.  Katie McLean (Door) leads the charge as a noble heroine chasing the truth. Sean Sinitski (Croup) and Christopher M. Walsh -no relation (Vandemar) are the hired assassins.  'Croup & Vandemar:  nuisances eliminated, obstacles obliterated, bothersome limbs removed & tutelary dentistry,'

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announces Mr. Croup as he answers the telephone.  Sinitski and Walsh are a killer comedy duo.  Sinitski is the fast-talking animated leader to Walsh's deadpan delivery. Chris Hainsworth (Marquis) delivers the elegant, arrogant sarcasm with aristocratic gallantry.   The stoic bodyguard, Kyra Morris (Hunter) is a Watchmen in the making.  Patrick Blashill (Old Baily, The Earl, The Abbot), Phil Timberlake (Gary, The Fop, The Angel) and Elise Kauzlaric (Old woman, Jessica, Anaesthesis, Lamia) amuse in memorable smaller roles.  This ensemble puts the eXtraordinary in X-men.

NEVERWHERE is a blockbuster comedy, fantasy adventure.  Bringing it to the stage, Lifeline Theatre tackled the mission improbable with amazing results.   It's full feature entertainment that will make you be a little nicer to people on the Red Line... the ones you see and the ones you don't.

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