Culture

Danny and the Deep Blue Sea’ comes to life on Vegas’ west side

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The theater might be hard to find, but Danny and the Deep Blue Sea makes the trip worthwhile.
Molly O'Donnell

In a novel collaboration, Best of Fringe recipient Born and Raised Productions teams with Cockroach Theatre to put on Danny and the Deep Blue Sea through January 29. Danny is part of John Patrick Shanley’s early body of work produced for the stage; his film career has brought us such works as 1987’s classic comedy Moonstruck and 2008’s eerie Doubt. Much like these later films, the play hinges on a bleak relationship between a man and woman that results in laughter and unbearable tension. The current run offers both in abundance.

The Details

Danny and the Deep Blue Sea
four and a half stars
January 20, 21, 27, 28, 29
8 p.m., $15.
Creative Studios LV at Loft Works, 6415 S. Tenaya Way, 376-9650.

Two-person dramas (or even comedies) can sometimes make you feel like you’re trapped on a bad double date. This torture is only rarely avoided through dynamic acting and deft directing. In Vegas, that rare combination crops up in the strangest places, like the largely empty multi-use spaces in Loft Works at Tenaya, home to Danny. This brightly lit failed development on the edge of the desert is on an unmarked street and undiscoverable by GPS. Underground theater doesn’t get much more underground.

The 90-minute play, however, is well worth any hassle you might experience in getting there. Ernie Curcio embodies the fiery Danny with his usual boisterousness, balancing this with a gentle sincerity and humor that’s more visceral than any of the shouting. Both he and Mundana Ess-Haghabadi (Roberta) deserve special praise for their thick Bronx accents, believable and consistently maintained. Ess-Haghabadi shares Curcio’s intensity, offering a damaged but not hopeless Roberta. In fact, hope, at first incomprehensible, is what’s most surprising, slowly revealing itself as the play progresses. Director Erik Amblad should be congratulated for keeping that delightful card close to his vest.

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