Los Angeles Theater Review: IN THE VALLEY OF THE SHADOW (Rogue Machine at the Met Theatre)

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by Dale Reynolds on June 18, 2017

in Theater-Los Angeles


Katharine Cortez’ 80-minute take on the after-effects of the brutal slaying of 49 people at the LGBT dance-bar, PULSE, a year ago June 12th has been sensitively and provocatively directed by veteran Elina de Santos as part of the Hollywood Fringe Festival. In The Valley of the Shadow is powerful theater, indeed.

The horror and sadness connected to that fateful night is well-stated here, without any souped-up emotions. Survivors of that homophobic massacre, as well as flashbacks on some who did not survive, makes for an engrossing and emotional theatrical experience.

De Santos and casting director Victoria Hoffman have rounded up a quality cast—Rachel Sorsa as the fanatically-religious mother of a gayman, Rafi (played sensitively by Dylan Arnold), who was there and who has now been outed; Larry Poindexter is both the detective in charge of the investigation, and a trans woman who enjoys her lip-of-irony in responding to the attacks; Ethan Rains is the sexy Puerto Rican, Enrique, who brings out Rafi’s inner queer.

The technical elements worked as best they could on the borrowed set of Les Blanc, an unfortunate side of experimental plays with no budgets. But it all works in concert because the telling of this sad, horrific, and infuriating tale is so engrossing. The show’s logo states, “Love Becomes Hate; Hate Becomes Love.” True enough in a tale well-presented.

photos by John Perrin Flynn

In the Valley of the Shadow
Rogue Machine Theatre
part of the Hollywood fringe Festival
Met Theatre, 1089 N. Oxford Ave
ends on June 24, 2017
for tickets, call 855.585.5185 or visit Fringe or Rogue Machine

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