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REVIEW: "Soul Mates"

Magenta Giraffe Theatre Company

Playwright shows keen insights in 'Soul Mates'

By Robert Delaney

Posted: Feb. 7, 2013 at 10:42 a.m.

Local playwright Kirsten Knisely shows keen insights into human relationships in her new play, "Soul Mates," being given its world premiere production by the Magenta Giraffe Theatre Co. at The Abreact Performance Space near Detroit's historic Corktown neighborhood.

Under the thoughtful direction of Frannie Shepherd-Bates, four very talented local performers - Jonathan Davidson, Julia Garlotte, Matthew Turner Shelton and Jaye Stellini - portray a variety of characters in nine scenes spanning a period of about six decades.

And whether it is the two female performers portraying girls in their early teens, the two male actors playing brothers or roommates, or any of the various male-female pairings from different periods, it is a delight to hear Knisely's insightful dialogue and hear it so well performed.

Because the play reflects contemporary mores, some playgoers may find some of the language or situations troubling, so advance warning is in order.

But Knisely has a remarkable ear for how people - even ones from well before her time - speak in intimate situations. And it would be hard to imagine her play being given a better first production than it is here.

I must say, however, that I can't see how it would be harmed if the scenes were broken up by an intermission. And I think it would be most helpful if the program were to be set in substantially larger type - something that could be read in The Abreact's rather dim pre-curtain lighting.

But quibbles aside, "Soul Mates" is an impressive work being given an impressive production.

SHOW DETAILS: "Soul Mates" continues through Feb. 23 at The Abreact Performance Space, 1301 West Lafayette, Suite 113, between Brooklyn and Eighth streets, just west of downtown Detroit, with performances at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, plus one 3 p.m. matinee performance on Sunday, Feb. 17. For reservations, call 313-408-7269 or access www.magentagiraffe.org.

Reprinted with permission of the New Monitor, Feb. 7, 2013

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