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The Desperate Hours: Three Days of Tension in Two Hours

By • Nov 13th, 2006 • Category: Reviews

Listen to our review of the Little Theatre of Alexandria’s production of The Desperate Hours [MP3 6:43 1.9MB].

Laura: We saw the Little Theatre of Alexandria‘s production of The Desperate Hours in Alexandria Virginia.

Mike: The Desperate Hours is a play written by Joseph Hayes. It takes place in the 1950’s. It revolves around the Hilliard family who lives in Indianapolis. They are taken hostage by some escaped hostages who are out for revenge on the policemen who put them in jail. The show revolves around the different relationships within the show. Two of the bad guys are brothers. They have a third with them that helped them to escape, but they don’t get along too well with him. It also explores the relationship of the two children in the household growing up and their relationship with the parents and the relationship between the man and the wife and how they deal with the stress of the situation. It was really quite a deep show with all the different intricacies of the relationships.

Laura: This was a very deep show, a very character driven show. But I think everybody pulled it off well. They all seemed to work together well. That helped with the flow of the story and I think the audience enjoyed it very much also.

Mike: It did start out a little bit slow. The show has three acts. The first act started a little bit slow, like they were just kind of warming up. Some of the emotions did not feel very real. The second and third acts were really well done. It all came together for a very good show.

Laura: The family that was held hostage by the three escaped convicts all did a really good job. Dan Hilliard was played by Mark Lee Adams. He did quite well. He was a little bit slow the first act. I guess maybe he had to take some time to warm up a little bit. The final two acts he did a really good job with a lot of emotion and a lot of wanting to protect his family, but not wanting to rock the boat and get anybody hurts so he really had kind of some tough choices going on there, but I think he did a really good job.

Mike: It was really fascinating watching him come to the decision that he had to sacrifice himself for the family and then getting into the strong discussion, not quite a fight, but a discussion with his wife about that. That was really a well done scene.

Laura: Mr. Hilliard’s wife, Eleanor Hilliard, was played by Margaret Bush. She was not the leader of the family. She very much supported her husband, but was also very strong. She didn’t faint, fall apart, cry, scream, that kind of thing. She was very strong. Just wanted to keep the family together and keep it all calm and she just seemed to know that everybody would be alright. The daughter, Cindy Hilliard, was played by Winifred Harrington. She did good, she was a little bit of a spitfire in that she did not like the three convicts that were invading the house and obviously let them know that as frequently as she could. I really liked her. And then Ralphie Hilliard, the son, was played by Kent Jenkins. He was also spunky little kid. He did what he was told, but at the same time wanted to save the family. He was willing to jump out of a window to go get help, which was not looked upon favorably by the mother or father so I thought he did a really good job also.

Mike: His character didn’t quite understand what was going on. The family kept trying to tell him,”No, this is serious.” He wasn’t treating it correctly and Kent really did a good job with that.

The escaped convicts were led by Glenn Griffin, played by ken Clayton. He had an air of just viciousness within him. He was really quite good at getting that out and getting the feelings out of how he felt about, for example the policeman that put him in jail, and his father and the scene at the end he did really well during the final showdown with Dan Hilliard. He also had his brother, Hank Griffin played by Michael Reid. He was a teenager it seemed like that just kind of got sucked up in what his brother was doing. He wanted something better. He portrayed the feelings of wanting something more than what his brother could offer. He was quite good at that. The third escaped convict was Robish, played by John T. Adams III. He was really good, very effective.

Laura: And then the police officers also did a really good job. Deputy Jesse Bard was played by Bill Kitzerow. He did a good job. He had a grudge against one of the escaped convicts. In the altercation he ended up breaking Glenn’s jaw. He wants to be the good cop and go in and get the men, but he also realizes there is a family inside that he doesn’t want to put in any more jeopardy. The FBI man that came down to oversee things was Harry Carson, played by Brandon DeGroat. He did a really good job. He wanted to maintain order. Also did not want to go in and bring harm to the family.

Mike: There were also several scenes that included violence between the characters. Various fights or slaps or things like that. And those scenes were very well done, very well choreographed. There was a scene at the end of the first act where Glenn Griffin got into a fight with Dan Hilliard. That was a really good fight scene. It took place on the edge of the stage. Right in front of us. It was fascinating to watch that.

Laura: The set of The Desperate Hours was also really well done. I liked how it was almost two sets in one. They had the living room area of the Hilliard’s house with an upstairs area for the bedrooms and a couple other bedroom doors. Downstairs off to the side was the police station. They did a really good job of not looking at the other set. They maintained where they were.

Mike: The show does have adult situations scattered throughout the show. There is some violence. A little bit of bad language. Also violence involving children. Be aware of that, but the show is appropriate for high school and older. Probably even middle school. You can have some interesting discussions about how families work together and doing what you’re told and the role of the police and things like that. Definitely a good show to go see.

Laura: The Desperate Hours is playing through November the 18th at the Little Theatre of Alexandria in Alexandria Virginia.

Mike: The show has two intermissions for a total running time of 2 hours and 15 minutes.

Laura: And now, on with the show.

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started ShowBizRadio in August 2005 because they love live theater. They each have both performed in and worked behind the scenes in DC area productions, as well as earned a Career Studies Certificate in Theater from Northern Virginia Community College. Mike & Laura are each members of the American Theatre Critics Association, and Mike is a member of the Online News Association.

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