The Internet Theater Magazine of Reviews, Features, Annotated Listings







Etcetera and
Short Term Listings


NYC Restaurants


New Jersey







Free Updates
A CurtainUp Review
Sweet Storm

 .. I knew I had done carved out what the ol' Hebrew prophet Samuel had once't carved in a stone. Ebenezer -  "The Lord has helped me thus far." I knew Ruthie, right then and there you was mine. You were my Only. My only love, only kiss. - Bo
Sweet Storm
Jamie Dunn and Eric T. Miller in Sweet Storm
(Photo: Monique Carbon)
With a pace as languid as an early September night in rural Florida, Scott Hudson's  Sweet Storm,  is a tender glance at a boy and a girl coping with their first hours of marriage on September 10, 1960. Director Padraic Lillis uses this mere sketch of a story to search for the core of Ruthie (Jamie Dunn) and Bo (Eric T. Miller), allowing their emotions to unfold naturally. No filler. No fleshed out characterizations. No sudden denouement. But there is humor and a building of gentle surprises. This sweet love story has a refreshing power that is pleasing even if it leaves little to ponder.

Bo and Ruthie are two kids from a small Southern community with little money, fundamentalist religious values and dreamy expectations of what marriage should be. After some off-stage giggling Bo, a lusty aspiring preacher. stumbles through the dark, carrying his new bride, up into their "honeymoon suite in the sky" — a tree house he built just days before.  Bo settles her gently on the edge of a bed supported by cinder blocks. It is pouring rain and they are soaking wet. When he manages to light a hanging lamp, Ruthie looks around, stunned. Expecting a honeymoon on the beach, she finds herself in this primitive structure without plumbing and not even a hanger for her plain white wedding dress. A quilt is wrapped around the old oak tree trunk, eventually revealing the word, "Ebenezer," carved by Bo.

As Bo darts around getting Ruthie whatever she needs, it becomes clear that she cannot walk and is completely dependent on her young husband. Did she fall from this very oak tree where they first kissed and fell in love, and where she held him tightly around the neck when she slipped off a branch? Or is she recovering from an illness? Answers unfold gradually. While Bo is perpetually moving around the small crowded set, Ruthie remains still, always on the bed, absorbed in his every action.

Jamie Dunn's tight features reflect her growing anxiety.  She appears fearful and weak, amazed at Bo's efforts, but obviously dissatisfied in this crude shelter, especially as the storm outside is picking up.  Both she and Miller are compelling actors who convincingly delineate their different romantic visions.

Ruth questions God, agonizing over what sins she might have committed to put her in this crippled condition, and she feels guilty for not being grateful for what she has. Bo scours the Bible for answers but it's easy to see that he lacks understanding and to understand why his affability crumbles under Ruthie's tight control.

Unpretentious honesty sums up every element of this 75-minute drama—writing, direction and performances.   Effective sound and lighting heighten the drama, as does Lea Umberger's set with its buckets of gardenias and gloomy Spanish moss overhead; also her story illuminating costumes.

Sweet Storm is somewhat reminiscent of the light romance in William Inge's Bus Stop   and is shaded with the playwright's dedication "to my mother and father whose love for one another has stood the tests of time." But it's left to the audience to decide if Ruthie and Bo's love will stand the test of time. We do get to see them share a moment of ecstacy, but it comes as the legendary Hurricane Donna comes pounding into their love nest and Bo, as he has many times before in their short life together, promises, " Gotchu. . . I gotchu."

Sweet Storm by Scott Hudson
Directed by Padraic Lillis
Cast: Jamie Dunn (Ruthie), Eric T. Miller (Bo)
Set Design: Lea Umberger
Costume Design: Lea Umberger
Lighting Design: Sarah Sidman
Sound Design: Elizabeth Rhodes
Running Time: 75 minutes, no intermission
Kirk Theatre, 410 W 42nd St., between Ninth and Dyer Aves 212 279-4200
Tickets: $21.25 to $26.25; $25, students/seniors & rush $15
Performances: Tue–Sat at 8pm, Sun at 2pm. S
From 06/11/09. Opens 06/17/09. Closes 8/15/09
Review by Elizabeth Ahlfors based on performance 06/14/09
Highlight one of the responses below and click "copy" or"CTRL+C"
  • I agree with the review of Sweet Storm
  • I disagree with the review of Sweet Storm
  • The review made me eager to see Sweet Storm
Click on the address link E-mail:
Paste the highlighted text into the subject line (CTRL+ V):

Feel free to add detailed comments in the body of the email. . .also the names and emails of any friends to whom you'd like us to forward a copy of this review.

You can also contact us at Curtainup at Facebook or Curtainup at Twitter
Try for great seats to
Jersey Boys
The Little Mermaid
Lion King
Shrek The Musical

South Pacific  Revival
South Pacific

In the Heights
In the Heights

Playbill 2007-08 Yearbook

Leonard Maltin's Classic Movie Guide
Leonard Maltin's 2008 Movie Guide


©Copyright 2009, Elyse Sommer.
Information from this site may not be reproduced in print or online without specific permission from