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A CurtainUp Phildelphia Review
901 Nowhere Street
Performer/ ensemble-generated, and site-specific, 901 Nowhere Street was shaped into a twisty script by Jeremy Gable. Tough talking and dangerous femmes (Emilie Krause, Anna Szapiro, Merri Rashoyan), some of whom are not yet fatale, find themselves in a treacherous situation. Someone is to exchange a suitcase for a package at the dock at midnight. When you get dames with heaters, you've got trouble.
Hard boiled and tied up in fantasy and cigarettes, the murder mystery starts dramatically, in medias res, at a point near the end, and works its way back to that pivotal moment and beyond. The stylish singing of a stunning waif nightclub singer (Lauren Tuvell) holds the experience together. But is she a figment of someone's imagination? And a surreal recurring vision of a unicorn (Caitlin Dagle) must be morphine induced. The performance requires that the audience enter into a complicated story they don't understand for quite awhile, and trust that gradually they'll get it. And they will.
The intrepid ensemble's stylized, truncated dance movement, at times synchronized, is obviously a result of attentive experimentation. By approaching characters through physical abstraction, each performer paradoxically isolates theatrical truth through psychological non-realism.
The stark visuals may be loosely based in 40s Noir. But the sound design, stoked with torch songs and dramatically dangerous guitar and background sound, ranges across decades, tied not to a specific era but to a Noir mood. Hazy evocations of Dashiell Hammett waft through the whole work. And the cinematic contrast of striking light and murky dark recalls David Lynch. Staged by a strong and brilliant all-woman cast, supported by the artistry of talented designers, this new theatre company has made one heck of an entrance.