REVIEW – DOUBT – BUS BARN STAGE COMPANY

Oh, is it good to be off the stage and back in the audience, where I belong. Such a pleasure to clap in appreciation again and WHAT a great show to break my fast and sink back into the comfort of the shadowed seats of the theatre audience. Doubt at Bus Barn Stage Company is a fantastic demonstration of community theatre, in an intimate setting, owning its audiences emotions from the first sight of the beautiful stage.

It certainly doesn’t hurt that Doubt may in fact be the most perfectly written play I’ve seen/read to date. How so? Well, let’s start with the fact that I’m not sure there could be more going on in this play. Hypocrisy, sexism, racism, politics, relationships, education, perceptions, truth, temptation, judgement, justice, parenting, abuse, and of course, the nature of faith and its counterpart, doubt. It does an incredible job of keeping you in the moment, never allowing you to get a step a head of it. It doesn’t peak too early or too often, but you’ll take sides, switch sides, get angry, feel guilty, and be holding your breath throughout this miniature masterpiece. Don’t think if you’ve seen the movie you can miss this. The movie has extraneous bits that seem to mess with an intentionally crafted, detailed, even pacing.

Each performance is commanding and based in reality. All four actors walked that tremendously difficult line of playing absolute conviction while the words they are given are pure ambiguity. We easily connect emotionally with these characters without ever knowing the full truth about them.

Aside from a few minor disagreements with some blocking (like a character turning a back to another at what seemed like the exact wrong time to show “weakness” or an overly long and dramatic final “pose”) this is a really stellar production from start to finish with all the technical elements in place to make you feel at moments you are actually in church.

This play, as you might suspect, leaves you with questions, but instead of being annoyed with the results, the open-ended resolution is simply brilliant. No doubt about it, Doubt is exceptionally engaging, well performed theatre worth the price of the ticket. An easy 4 1/2 jewels out of 5 for this suspenseful and dramatic gem! Doubt plays through Feb 18th in Los Altos.

** The theatre does run cold at night so bring a coat and grab a cup of hot cider to help keep you comfortable for the play’s 90 minutes with no intermission.

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