Secret Order is the story of a brilliant young research biologist named William Shumway (Nick Duckart). Shumway works at a cancer research institute in New York, where he has discovered a possible cure for cancer. The dynamic director of the institute Robert Brock (Gordon McConnell) takes Shumway under his wing, as he thirsts for the potential professional and financial rewards the institute would gain from such a discovery. With the prestige and acclaim of a Nobel Prize in mind, Brock presses Shumway to produce the reports supporting the successful progress of his research. When Shumway's progress with his research is thwarted, he is assisted by an eager undergraduate named Alice Curiton (Katie Cunningham). When medicine meets money and ambition, they all find they may be in over their heads. The best of intentions and the most noble of goals may not protect them from the worst of outcomes.
Secret Order has some intelligent banter and an interesting premise, but loses steam along the way. The pacing of the show is filled with peaks and valleys, and there are just too many valleys to keep the momentum or our interest. Nick Duckart and Katie Cunningham are wonderful both separately and together. Howard Elfman as Saul Roth provides a bit of unexpected and welcome levity to the plot. Gordon McConnell establishes a great character, but at the performance attended repeatedly went up on his lines, slowing down the pacing of the show, which at two hours and 40 minutes is just too long.
Secret Order appears through August 1, 2010, at the Caldwell Theatre. The Caldwell Theatre Company is located in the Count De Hoernle Theatre at 7901 N. Federal Highway in Boca Raton, Florida. The Caldwell Theatre Company is a professional theatre company hiring local and non-local Equity and non-Equity actors. The Caldwell Theatre Company is designated by the State of Florida as a Cultural Institution and receives funding from the State of Florida through the Florida Department of State, the Florida Arts Council and the Division of Cultural Affairs. Performance times are usually Wednesday through Saturday evenings at 8:00 PM, and Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday matinees at 2:00 PM. For information and/or tickets you may contact them by phone at 561-241-7432 or online at www.caldwelltheatre.com.
*Indicates member of the Actor's Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States.