Theater review | Chris Hewitt
OCTOBER 4, 2019
...Set in a senior living center, "Ripcord" starts out like a traditional, even retro comedy, along the lines of Neil Simon. Its "Odd Couple"-style characters are Abby (Alison Edwards), whose name rhymes with "crabby" for good reason, and chatty Marilyn (Mary Alette Davis), recently joined roommates in a senior living center...
...As mismatched as a granny-square afghan thrown over an Eames chair, the pair are at odds before the play even begins and, probably, long after it ends. (In reference to people she might like to room with, Abby snaps at a nurse, "What about that woman without a voice box? She seems nice.") Most of "Ripcord" consists of them playing mean-spirited pranks on each other in an attempt to win a bet: If Abby triumphs, Marilyn moves out. If Marilyn wins, she gets the bed by the window....
...A lot of its success has to do with the versatile Edwards, who seems like she'd be at home in any of the modes of "Ripcord" if it would just pick one. The other five actors execute the scripts' twists and turns proficiently, but it has to be confusing to play characters who are broad but realistic in one scene but morph into cartoons in the next. Michael Hoover's scenic design faces similar challenges: His living center set anchors the early scenes in reality, which starts to seem like an unfortunate choice when "Ripcord" goes off the rails. But then Hoover gives us an image — from the sky diving excursion the title promises — that takes your breath away with its purity and loveliness.
I'd recommend "Ripcord" for that scene alone. But with its smart performances and frequently clever dialogue, the play has more going for it than the sky diving moment. You could almost think of this shape-shifting drama like that old saying about Minnesota's quick-changing weather: If you don't like what's happening at any given moment, wait five minutes.
By Margaret Edson (Repertory Theatre of St. Louis)
By Harry Weber
...We do come to feel, if not love, real pity for Vivian Bearing, so alone is she in her battle against death, so courageous in her losing struggle against what grows uncontrollably within her. We admire her when she summons the courage to admit her fear and to take the comfort that a concerned nurse offers her. We are grateful when her favorite professor, now a great-grandmother, comes to visit her -- the only visitor Vivian has throughout the play -- cuddles her and reads her a little child's book rather than the poems of John Donne. We are profoundly relieved when death ends her pain. Some of the audience may also experience fear at her long, hopeless ordeal.
Alison Edwards plays Vivian as a real actor should, with absolutely no moves to gain any sentimental sympathy for Vivian or to make her warm or more appealing. Instead, Edwards is the vessel for the playwright's words and stage directions, relying as much on Gregg's sure vision of the play as she does on her own. Edwards has not only shaved her head to play the part, at least a minor sacrifice for her art, but at the final moments of transcendence she display's well-lit full dorsal nudity -- a real sacrifice for a woman no longer a tight-bodied teenager...
OUT OF THE WILD NIGHT
Children Ages 8+ • 7.25 hrs. • Unabridged • © 2018
When ghosts on the island of Nantucket rise up to defend their homes from a greedy developer, a group of children works tirelessly to help the townspeople understand the dead's wishes. With bright, firm tones and stirring intensity, narrator Alison Edwards dives readily into Balliett's haunting prose. Her compassion and enthusiasm shine in her portrayals of the characters: the brave, determined children; the seasoned islanders; and the narrating ghost who is watching these extraordinary events unfold. Edwards's even pacing and attention to detail help listeners discern past from present and keep them rooted in each moment. Against the rich seaside of Nantucket, Edwards delivers this ghost story grounded in family, redemption, and history, a love letter to a place and way of life told through those who value it most. K.S.B. ©
The River Witch by Kimberly Brock
February 22nd, 2013
The River Witch by Kimberly Brock was pure listening pleasure. I loved the story woven throughout and the narrator, Alison Edwards, was amazing. I know I would have loved this novel in print as well but the narrator simply brought this story to life for me. The River Witch is a haunting Southern story with a touch of the magical; it is a story of a woman once broken who learns to find herself again through others — simply beautiful…
This is a beautiful novel that I will revisit again in the future by listening to the audio once again. It is a story that will stay with me for a long while and I would most definitely rank it as one of my favorite novels this year!
I believe in telling stories
The River Witch, audio book review
My friends over at SheReads.org recently gifted me with an audioversion of Kimberly Brock’s critically acclaimed novel The RiverWitch. Lucky me! I listened to most of it on a long drive to eastern Washington, and the unfolding story, narrated by Alison Edwards, made the miles slip by faster than I believed possible…
The River Witch absolutely swept me away. Its prose flows like warm honey, and its examination of the human heart sometimes stole my breath. I fell in love with the mystical setting and magnetic characters, who drew me deeper and deeper into their story of sorrow and hope intertwined. The River Witch is surely one of the more imaginative stories in Southern literary fiction, with deeply resonant themes of family, love and redemption. Altogether, a bewitching tale from a mesmerizing Southern voice.
5/5 stars. Bewitching.