Big Idea’s ‘King of Shadows’

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“Cutting-edge plays and outstanding performances” was the party line I’d been hearing about Big Idea Theatre. This weekend I caught their current production, King of Shadows, and saw what all the excitement is about. This tiny venue, tucked away on Del Paso Boulevard (in the Supper Club complex), is packing some powerful artistic dynamite.

Written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and directed here by Benjamin T. Ismail—an enthusiastic young man who stepped out onto the stage to introduce the show—King of Shadows features an excellent four-member ensemble cast in a riveting and unusual story that keeps you guessing. In a nutshell, it’s the tale of a young graduate student (Jessica) in San Francisco who, while studying the lives of homeless teens, encounters a runaway (Nihar) who claims he’s being followed by supernatural demons. Havoc ensues when Jessica agrees to allow Nihar to spend a few nights at the home she shares with her boyfriend Eric, an ex-New York City cop, and her sassy younger sister, Sarah.

The play is driven by sharp, often bitingly witty dialogue and an extraordinarily talented cast: Gina Williams (Jessica), Andrew Perez (Nihar), Brian Harrower (Eric) and Josephine Longo (Sarah). Performances are stellar all around, though I especially enjoyed Harrower’s turn as a no-nonsense New Yorker who raises a skeptical eyebrow to Nihar’s far-out fables.

 King of Shadows is a top-notch production and a memorable night of theater. Catch it through July 23 at Big Idea Theatre, 1616 Del Paso Blvd. in Sacramento. For more information, visit bigideatheatre.com or call (916) 960-3036.