CCT’s “Misery”: All the Fear and Excitement You Could Hope For

LATHAMCurtain Call Theatre kicks off 2023 with a shudder, a chill, some spine-tingling screams, and a gunshot. Currently on the stage is William Goldman’s Misery, based on the Stephen King psychological horror novel of the same name. Novelist Paul Sheldon is traveling down a back country road in Vermont one evening when he is caught in a snowstorm. The car goes off the road. Fortunately, the accident is witnessed by one Annie Wilkes, a nurse, who we later come to find out is Sheldon’s “Number One Fan.” Annie rescues Sheldon, takes him to her home, and nurses him back to health. And that is where the terror begins. Without giving too much more of the plot away, Annie is obsessed with both Sheldon and Misery, Sheldon’s lead character in eight best-selling romance novels he has written. To find out the rest, you’ll just have to make a journey to Curtain Call Theater and see how it all unfolds.

Amanda Dorman, Kevin Gardner (photo by David Quinones, Jr.)

The show is beautifully crafted, incredibly suspenseful, and will have you on the edge of your seat throughout the two acts. Director Cindy Bates, long-time stalwart of the CCT family, is in fine form working her characters through this suspense-filled drama. She has allowed her actors the luxury of building their character’s emotional highs and lows, ensnaring the audience in the web of terror and fear, and taking them along for the ride. 

Kevin Gardner returns from the West Coast to inhabit the role of Paul Sheldon. You feel every moment of pain that is inflicted on him, both as a result of the car accident and the emotional pain that Annie puts him through. A look, a wince, a grimace, a scream are all so convincingly conveyed to the audience you will writhe in your seat.

Capital Region’s Amanda Dorman makes her CCT debut as Annie. She controls the meter of the production, from simmering rage to her flailing outrage, Dorman rules the stage. You can actually see her mind flip from odd to outrageous as the production unfolds.

Another Capital Region stage vet makes his debut here; Grant Miller as Buster, the Sheriff, does as much as is possible with the small role created to move the plot devices along.

Kevin Gardner (photo by David Quinones, Jr.)

Scenic Designer Garrett Wilson returns the set design to the level of excellence we have come to expect from Curtain Call. From the rolled linoleum kitchen floor to the peeling wallpaper in the bedroom, this set has you living in Annie’s seedy, somewhat neglected home.  Lily Fossner’s lighting design, Alex Dietz-Kest’s sound design, and Rebecca Gardner’s prop design all combine to create a perfect slice of life in Vermont.

Misery is the complete antithesis of its title. The show will have you on the edge of your seat with excitement. You’ll be afraid to exhale. Above all, sit back and relax… enjoy the ride that Curtain Call puts its audience through. What an outstanding way to begin 2023 and the second half of Curtain Call’s season. 

Misery runs Thursdays through Sunday, Jan. 29. Tickets are $30. For more information and reservations: www.curtaincalltheatre.com  or call 518-877-7529. 

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