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On Theater: Powerful 'Jitney' rumbles through SCR

May 24, 2012|By Tom Titus

Williams veers into overstatement in his face-off with Bates, screaming and waving a handgun. McKnight exhibits a cool, alcohol-fueled sense of detachment while Watson attempts to keep a semblance of order. Russell's earnest but futile attempts to reconcile with his father are effective, but keep his true character shielded.

Fringe players drop by to heighten the atmosphere — Rolando Boyce as a snappily dressed numbers runner, Gregg Daniel as a doorman from a neighboring hotel. All contribute to the overall convivial atmosphere

Shaun Motley, who created the grimly effective backdrops for SCR's "Fences" and "Topdog / Underdog," has designed a richly appointed rundown office setting. Gritty costumes by Dana Rebecca Woods and Brian J. Lilienthal's moody lighting continue the atmospheric approach splendidly.

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"Jitney" gravitates between low-key character development and loud, visceral confrontation, with a blind-siding plot development late in the action, in this strong season-closing production at South Coast Repertory.

TOM TITUS covers local theater for the Daily Pilot.

If You Go

What: "Jitney"

Where: South Coast Repertory Segerstrom Stage, 655 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa

When: at 7 :30 p.m. on Sundays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, at 8 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays, and at 2 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays through June 10

Cost: $20 to $68

Call: (714) 708-5555 or visit http://www.scr.org.

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