by Penelope Corrin
Beaumont Studios
316 W. 5th Av.
September 29-October 8

Penelope Corrin is a young actress whom we’ve mostly seen doing improv comedy over the past couple of years.  With Plugged, she’s created a vehicle for herself, a solo rock-opera that showcases her acting chops, singing range and writing ability.  With the help of talents John Murphy (director) and Corinne Kessel (musical director) plus a three-piece onstage band, Corrin reveals herself as someone definitely to be watched.

On the Beaumont Studio’s tiny bare stage, Corrin plays out a three-character family drama.  She’s Anna and also Anna’s aged grandmother in the latter stages of dementia. Grandmother mumbles barely comprehensible nonsense, punctuated by phrases that sound ominously condemning: “You evil eye.  Obey God.”  Corrin also plays Anna’s sketchily developed father, a cold, distant figure who barely has time for either woman.

Corrin’s acting is most impressive in the role of grandmother, quietly navigating the twisted corridors of her own mind in an impeccable British accent.  Anna is tormented by the transformation and apparent disappearance of the grandmother she knew and loved.  She becomes convinced that a demon has possessed grandmother’s mind, and Anna becomes possessed by that same demon.

Wrestling with the demon, flung around the stage, Corrin-as-Anna reveals a powerful hard-rock voice.  The lyrics are often obscured by the volume of the music and a less than ideal sound system but the gist comes through clearly enough.  And the resolution of the mystery of the grandmother’s speaking in demonic tongues is nicely accomplished.

At just under an hour, with all the action mimed (what the father is doing, exactly, is never clear), Plugged feels like a workshop for a fuller, more polished production.  But it’s an effective calling card for talented Penelope Corrin.

Jerry Wasserman


last updated: Sunday, October 2, 2005 4:50 PM
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