REVIEW: The Twentieth Century Way

Jens Rasmussen and Michael McKeogh star in the brilliant "The Twenieth Century Way" at the KNOW Theatre
Jens Rasmussen and Michael McKeogh star in the brilliant “The Twenieth Century Way” at the KNOW Theatre

Sometimes I go to the theatre with the intention of sitting back and being entertained.  Sometimes I don’t want to have to think too much and sometimes I just want to laugh a lot.  Well, I laughed a few times during The KNOW Theatre’s brilliant production of THE TWENTIETH CENTURY WAY, but I certainly didn’t get to sit back during this frenetic 90 minutes of intensity.

I’m not even sure how to describe the show to you.  The description I’d read doesn’t really tell the full story of what this play is.  And I absolutely will not spoil it for you.  But suffice it to say, what I thought I was going to see – a show about two out of work actors hired to trap gay men into arrests in the 1920s – is way understating it.

The friend who went with me – who is himself a brilliant actor – helped me understand the show in a different context.  He said it was a show about acting.  He’s right . . . but upon further reflection, I think that it is a show about truth.  Raw, naked, intense, real, authentic truth and how that truth is experienced on stage and off by actors.

Jens Rasmussen and Michael McKeogh were absolutely perfect in their portrayals of multiple characters.  There were jarring transitions but not once was I lost, thanks to the deft directoral hand of Kimberly Faith Hickman and the marvelous performances.  These are brave actors, to be sure, and talented ones.  I will be lining up to see them perform again.

The KNOW has another knock out hit with this show.  If they can continue to produce MainStage masterpieces like PLUTO and THE TWENTIETH CENTURY WAY under the artistic leadership of Andrew Hungerford then they are going to be a force to be reckoned with.    You should see this show – but don’t come unless you’re willing to work for it.  It does pay off and in spades.

THE TWENTIETH CENTURY WAY will continue to run at the KNOW Theatre in Over the Rhine until May 3rd.  Tickets are available here.  Be advised – this show does contain very mature themes and content including full frontal male nudity.

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