Haven Theatre’s “Last Train to Nibroc” Review – Endearing Love Story, Well-Told

 

You can expect to be uplifted and elated by the simple charms of the love story told in “Last Train to Nibroc”, infusing you with renewed memories of finding your true love or the one you imagine is your due.  From the moment you meet them as they meet each other —May (Amanda Drinkall) and Raleigh (Mike Tepeli)—you know it’s going to have a happy ending in each others’ arms.   That doesn’t spoil it, and if anything adds suspense to this play by Arlene Hutton, as to how long and by what path it will take to get there.

 

 

Just as in real life, these very real characters seem to have difficulty coming to this happy ending and seeing each other because of personal low points, limitations, and challenges to overcome.  We meet May just as she is returning home to Kentucky after an ill-fated trip to see her fiancée of sorts who had been changed by his time in the service.  For his part Raleigh has dreams of making it as a writer but the reality of a discouraging medical discharge from the service is wracking him with shame. 

 

 

That said, it’s obvious that he’s the guy for her.  How could May not see Raleigh’s dimpled face and swoon?  How could she not hear how he so naturally becomes her cheerleader to help her through lows? He sees her warts of small-mindedness and rigidity not as turn-offs but as lovely charms.   Someone should tell this girl to grab him while she can!

 

 

It certainly helps this elegant script that the two actors in this production not only infuse their lines with nuance but also seem to have that chemistry between them that makes the story come alive (Director:  Jason Gerace)  Some Chicago theater goers will remember this talented duo from Strawdog’s production of “Great Expectations”.   This script lets them do more.

 

How lovely also that time and place are evoked so clearly in this script such that a set that could be described more as negligible than minimal makes due   We feel the sensibilities of rural America coming out of the Depression during World War II.  One would hope that high school teachers grasping for ways to teach about that time will add this script to their pedagogical arsenal. 

 

Elegant in its simplicity, with top-notch acting—“Last Train to Nibroc” is a gem well-worth seeing.

 

Now through September 6

 

Theater Wit

1229 West Belmont

Chicago

 

For more information visit the Haven Theatre website or call the Theater Wit box office at 773 975 8150.

 

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Photos:  Austin D. Oie

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