Mercury Review – Harry Potter in Hell?

Andrea FLowers and Megghan Holaway in MERCURY - Photo by Lizzy Kimball
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Written by Steve Yockey, a master of supernatural suspense and surprise, MERCURY makes its West Coast debut at the Road Theatre Company in Los Angeles in 2024. Originally produced in 2017 in Arizona and Utah (with a follow-up in Cincinnati in 2019), MERCURY has been described as a modern take on an old morality play pitting the bad guys against the not-so-good guys. It’s bizarre and bloody – and also lots of fun.

Meeghan Holaway and Danny Lee Gomez – Photo by Lizzy Kimball

The place is Portland, Oregon, and the time is now, more or less. This is a story about simply ordinary people with relationship issues. There’s Pamela (Meeghan Holaway) and Heather (Andrea Flowers), two boring stay-at-home housewives who’ve decided to spice up their lives with a little hanky-panky on the side – with each other. It proves to be fun, until it isn’t. When Heather decides to end it, Pamela wants revenge with a capital R. And then there’s stable Nick (Justin Lawrence) and neurotic Brian (Danny Lee Gomez), two lovebirds who can’t seem to avoid conflict – all witnessed by nosy neighbor Olive (Christina Carlisi) who just can’t seem to mind her own business. When it becomes obvious that her two cents are not wanted, she begins to think about revenge, again with a capital R. So it’s on to Ye Olde Curiosity Shoppe, where Alicia (Gloria Ines) is more than happy to offer a solution to their problems with a little help from her hottie boyfriend Sam (Billy Baker). And thereby hangs the tale.

Gloria Ines and Christina Carlisi – Photo by Lizzy Kimball

Director Ann Hearn Tobolowsky helms the show with a sure hand, never forgetting that this is a very strange story about normal people meeting the unexpected – and scary. You can’t help but make pretty quick judgments as that “little black book” gets passed from hand to hand. The ensemble cast does an excellent job of keeping things creepy, especially as the mundane sheds its mask. MERCURY is a mix of drama, comedy, magic, horror, and the supernatural – all immersed in buckets of blood and a few intestines. Nor for the faint of heart, MERCURY will keep your attention to the last. It’s Harry Potter and Faust rolled into one.

Justin Lawrence and Christina Carlisi – Photo by Lizzy Kimball

The production crew does a great job of making sure that the dark side gets its due. Katrina Coulourides’ rotating set design, Derrick McDaniel’s lighting, David B. Marling’s sound, and Jenna Bergstraesser’s costumes add just the right formula blending reality, absurdity, and magic into an electrifying whole. You will never be bored in this production.

Billy Baker and Gloria Ines – Photo by Lizzy Kimball

MERCURY runs through February 18, 2024, with performances at 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and at 2 p.m. on Sundays. The Road Theatre is located at 10747 Magnolia Blvd., North Hollywood, CA. Tickets are $39 (students and seniors $15; Sunday performances Pay-What-You-Can; group rates for 8+). For information and reservations, call 818-761-8838 or go online.


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