Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: Philadelphia

The New Electric Ballroom
Hedgerow Theatre Company
Review by Rebecca Rendell

The Cast
Photo by James Kern Photography
Hedgerow Theatre Company's production of The New Electric Ballroom is a bizarre, intense, and emotionally stirring parable about growing up and growing old. Director Emma Gibson brings out the darkest edges of Enda Walsh's powerful script. Gibson's supremely talented cast walks that edge with intelligence and a good dose of dark humor to go along with it. Not everyone will appreciate this uncanny tale, but those of us who like our theatre just a little bit strange are in for a real treat.

Set in a remote Irish fishing village, The New Electric Ballroom jumps backward and forward through time to tell the story of three sisters. Two of the sisters are afraid to leave their house while the third only goes to the cannery and bicycles back home again.

What happened that night so many years ago that still reverberates through every moment of their lives? What is the meaning of the rituals they practice together and against each other? And what exactly is going on with their awkward neighbor and all his fresh fish? The answers are interesting, but not as important as what they reveal about the follies of youth, the oppression of living in a small town, and the sense of isolation and loss all too common in the lives of women who are no longer young.

The three sisters are Breda (Janis Dardaris), Clara (Marcia Saunders), and Ada (Marcie Bramucci). Saunders gives an absolutely haunting performance as eternally innocent Clara. Trenchant and abrasive, Dardaris brings a deliciously sharp contrast to Saunders. There is an electric storm of energy between them.

Lily Fossner's lighting design is fantastic, bringing an erie and intimate vibe to the entire production. Marie Laster's crumbling cottage set is appropriately bleak and surprisingly versatile. Georgia Evans's brilliantly executed costumes play an integral part in the production.

While there are many thoughts and themes running through The New Electric Ballroom, women are constantly at the center of it all–omen and their relationships with each other, themselves, and their community. Perhaps that what makes this wonderfully strange drama so unique and powerful.

The New Electric Ballroom runs through March 9, 2024, at Hedgerow Theatre Company, 64 Rose Valley Rd., Hedgerow PA. For tickets and information, please visit

Janis Dardaris: Breda
Marcia Saunders: Clara
Stephen Patrick Smith: Patsy
Marcie Bramucci: Ada

Maria Laster: Scenic Designer
Lily Fossner: Lighting Designer
Georgia Evans: Costume Designer
Kate Fossner: Production Manager Eilis Skamarakas: Stage Manager