Theater Review: Scandal and Sultry Incendiaries in Still Standing
Nichelle Hines and Venessa Peruda in Still Standing. | Photo: Vitality Productions
Still Standing is Shyla Martin’s melodramatic chronicle of two women brought together by a chance posthumous discovery of a scandalous family secret. While this production has an unfortunate and disconcerting made-for-television feel, it is harmoniously cast and offers some undeniably impressive performances. Under the direction of Nick Mills, Still Standing effectively illustrates longing as a both a human driving force and boundary-breaching common denominator.
Nichelle Hines drives the play in the role of the tragically under-appreciated “Tracey.” Hines is robust and graceful; skillful, yet reassuringly natural; and softly endearing. Her competent stage presence buffers the rough spots of the script and artfully spares the audience the common pandering technicalities of the scorned woman archetype. Hines does not burst haphazardly on to the stage, but instead surrounds her role with a gust of dynamic warmth and believability.
Monique McIntyre and Eileen T’Kaye also give notable performances. McIntyre’s performance is utterly brilliant, electric, sultry, and energizing in spite of her subtlety. Capable of conveying subversive force and piteous weakness with a single dry command, she gives depth, mystery, and brevity to her character. The best moments of Still Standing are unquestionably those when Hines and McIntyre appear together on stage, their talents melding into kinetic, suspenseful gratification. T’Kaye is aptly suited to her role and delivers it flawlessly. She does not just recite memorized lines, but instead acts with her entire body ensuring that every joint, muscle, and breath are perfectly in sync with the character that she is presenting. T’Kaye brings joy and sincerity to the stage.
Still Standing is at Theatre Asylum until Sept. 12. Theatre Asylum is located at 6322 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased by calling 323-960-7863 or online at www.plays411.com/stillstanding.