Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: Florida - West Coast

Northside HollowUrbanite Theatre
William S. Oser | Season Schedule

Also see Bill's reviews of How to Use a Knife and Morning after Grace

David H. Littleton and Christopher Joel Onken
Photo by Brendan Ragan
Urbanite Theatre is currently presenting Northside Hollow by Jonathan Fielding and Brenda Withers. This is an intriguing play that takes place underground in a mine after an explosion. It was developed at Harbor Stage Company, Wellfleet, Massachusetts, by founding members Jonathan Fielding and Brenda Withers. It is a play that works best the less the audience knows in advance, so I am not going to reveal much.

The main characters are Gene, a miner of middle age, and Marshall, younger man who arrives to rescue him. The characters trade off their intense fear, back and forth, as they find strength to buck each other up. Gene is well played by David H. Littleton who nicely captures the outer cantankerousness and later makes room for hidden reserves of strength. Christopher Joel Onken plays Marshall with a good sense of his youth and inexperience rescuing others.

Much of the play takes place in almost darkness, and certain audience members are asked to wear helmets with lamps to provide minimal lighting. Summer Dawn Wallace directs with a sure hand, making shadows and the text be a theatrical experience in and of themselves. Rick Cannon's scenic design, seen before the play commences, is detailed by this company's limited budget standards and becomes very effective with low lighting. It is very hard to judge the costumes by Alison Gensmer. Lighting, or the lack thereof, by Ryan E. Finzelber works well to support the play and sound design by Rew Tippin is also a plus.

By now, Sarasota audiences know how they react to Urbanite's edgier fare. Those that love the company are probably going to like Northside Hollow. It is not the strongest play they have ever produced, but it is clearly just right for this company.

Northside Hollow, through March 11, 2108, at Urbanite Theatre, 1487 2nd St., Sarasota FL. Visit for more information.