Tension on stage

 

10 Percent of Molly Snyder (Marta Solano)

Phoenix Theatre

Directed by Bryan Fonseca

Through Jan. 28

10 Percent of Molly Snyder (Marta Solano) is an homage to bureaucratic incompetence. Who of us hasn’t run through endless hoops in order to achieve what seems to be a small task? First the inept personnel, then the paperwork, then the mistakes … it can go on and on.

This is what happens to Molly/Marta. (Marta is her name in the Spanish-language version, though at Sunday’s English show, she was called Marta anyway.) When the BMV transposes the numbers in her address on her driver’s license, getting a corrected license throws Marta into a journey akin to traversing the rings of hell on Groundhog Day. In addition to dealing with all the normal red tape, she also encounters a disturbing anomaly: Everyone she talks to has the same office and, while claiming to have different names, ethnicities and sexes, is the same person.

Phebe Taylor as Marta and Mathew Roland as the Other Person have good chemistry for this show that is meant to rattle your nerves. Marta is supremely sympathetic, and when she loses it, you don’t blame her one bit. Roland’s transitions from one character to another are fluid and funny.

The 90-minute-with-no-intermission show doesn’t drag. Director Bryan Fonseca sets a brisk pace for the action, which keeps the audience engaged and Marta’s tension growing.

10 Percent of Molly Snyder (Marta Solano) runs through Jan. 28, Thursdays at 7 p.m., Fridays-Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. The show will be presented in Spanish Jan. 18-19 and Jan. 27-28. Tickets are $25; $15 for those 24 and under. For reservations, call the Phoenix, 749 N. Park Ave., at 317-635-PLAY.

Ten Little Indians

Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre

Directed by Eddie Curry

Through Feb. 11

I have never read Agatha Christie’s Ten Little Indians, so I don’t know if the last few lines of the show are as lame in the novel. Up until that last one minute or so, however, the murder mystery is enticing — if suffering from some logic issues inherent in the script.

Ten people are duped into coming to a secluded house on an island. Once there, they discover that their “host,” whom none of them have actually met, accuses them all of being murderers. For the duration of the show, they are mysteriously killed one by one in accordance with the “Ten Little Indians” rhyme.

The large cast — Nina Edgerton, Lew Hackleman, Michael Haws, Nicholas Horton, Carrie S. Neal, Gene Raye Price, Whit Reichert, David Schmittou, J.R. Stuart and Jeff Stockberger — works well together to create a cohesive ensemble that interacts smoothly and efficiently. Personalities are well-defined; even those who get bumped off quickly have distinguishing characteristics and relationships with those around them. Director Eddie Curry could have let Edgerton tone down the breathless damsel act, however. And, shouldn’t she be out of her evening gown the following morning? And why did the number of Indian statues on the mantle never reflect the correct number of victims?

Still, Ten Little Indians is, for the most part, a solid show. It continues at Beef & Boards through Feb. 11, Tuesdays-Sundays. Tickets are $32.50-$52.50. Call B&B, 9301 N. Michigan Road, at 317-872-9664 for reservations.

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