Set in the 1940s, Reflection of Evil: Die Sister Twin, Die! is the story of college students and identical twins Ann and Bettie Wallace. While Ann is shy and virginal, Bettie is bold and promiscuous. Upon their trip home from college they both meet a hunky gas station mechanic named Phillip. Though he actually prefers Ann, he succumbs to the sexual powers of Bettie who throws herself at him. Even after Bettie and Phillip are married Ann still harbors longing for Phillip. Then one night after a fatal sailing trip, only one twin survives. Which one is it? No one seems to know the truthnot Phillip, the girls' mother, or the family maid Hydrangea.
The play is a tongue-in-cheek, campy spoof of movies from the 1940s, specifically the 1946 Bette Davis, Glenn Ford evil twin drama A Stolen Life. Reflection of Evil stars Brooks Brasselman, in drag, in the dual roles of Ann and Bettie. Brasselman is a facile actor who has more than demonstrated his comedic acting chops in previous productions at Empire Stage such as Mommie Queerest, The Facts of Life: The Lost Episode, and Silver Balls.
The costuming and set are right on the money, and Brasselman handles switching back and forth between Ann and Bettie with lightning speed. I am all for camp and fun, and have truly enjoyed Brasselman's previous performances, but his talent is not enough to elevate this show past mediocrity. Each of the actors has a few good moments. Janet Weakley is wonderful as the "fussy '40s society lady" Mrs. Wallace. David R. Gordon has strong dead-pan deliveries that are nearly caricatures, and Erin Pittleman as Hydrangea has mischief without malice. The script is just not strong enough to hold it all together. Brasselman really does try to make it as funny as possible, but there is a playfulness and connection with the audience that is never achieved. If nothing else, the show breezes by in just over an hour.
Reflection of Evil: Die Sister Twin, Die! will appear through August 2, 2015, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays @ 8 PM, and Sundays @ 5 PM and 8 PM. Tickets are $30. Use the discount code early and save $8.00 per ticket. Limited seating. Cash only at the door. Empire Stage is located at 1140 N. Flagler Dr. in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Buy tickets by calling Smarttix 212-868-4444 or 212-868-4444. For cash reservations, group rates, and general info call 954-678-1496, 954-678-1496 or visit www.Empirestage.com.
Empire is an artist-driven collective that produces new and existing works tailored to the diverse audiences of Ft. Lauderdale. It is their goal to offer theatre artists a supportive environment where they can collaborate, take risks, and develop as writers, actors, designers and producers. Empire Stage explore values, issues and humor relevant to the LGBT and progressive communities.
*Indicates a member of Actors' Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States.