Theater Info for the Washington DC region

Port City Playhouse Mindgame

By • May 11th, 2011 • Category: Reviews
Port City Playhouse
The Lab at Convergence, Alexandria, VA
Through May 22nd
2:15 with one intermission
$18/$16 Seniors and Juniors
Reviewed May 6th, 2011

Mindgame is a drama in two acts by Anthony Horowitz. A cerebral thriller with some unique plot twists that keep you in suspense until the very end. A novelist has an appointment with the director of an asylum for the criminally insane. Subsequent events unfold until nothing is as it seems. There is some violence and blood, so this is not a show for young children. Port City Players performed an intense emotional drama to keep you on a high stage of alert.

All the characters were very believable. Matthew Randall as Mark Skylar came across as a down to earth writer with nothing to hide. This should have been the first clue that something was wrong. His casual attitude covered well the demons within. These demons finally showed themselves in the second act and left the audience chilled and creeped out by Randall’s closing scene, which was done with emotion and heart.

Mark Lee Adams (a writer for ShowBizRadio) gave a stunning performance as Dr. Farqhar. His mood and personality changes were 100% and 100% real. Adams and Randall’s dialogues were crisp and well-paced. Fast, but spoken well and easy to follow, the two men bantered back and forth like old friends. Nurse Plimpton (Shannon Benton) also had her part to play in this psycho-thriller (pun intended) and made her character as real as possible. Her dialogue matched that of Adams and Randall as well as her added dimension of stark terror to what was happening on stage.

Overall the set worked well. Pay close attention to the detail of set dressing. Everything on stage has a purpose. The two LCD screens that were used as photographs were a bit distracting due to their brightness. The new space used by Port City has created some new challenges. The most notable challenge for this show was the lighting. The subtle effects that Lighting Designer Stephanie Gaia Chu apparently was striving for were lost as the intensity of the lights obviously shifted during scenes, and at points, even during the delivery of a line. Part of the drama of this show was that things were not all as they seem, and that magic was lost as occasionally the set changes happened within sight of the audience.

A thriller with an ending not to be missed.

Photo Gallery

Matthew Randall, Shannon Benton, Mark Adams Mark Adams & Matthew Randall
Matthew Randall, Shannon Benton, Mark Adams
Mark Adams & Matthew Randall
Matthew Randall, Shannon Benton, Mark Adams
Matthew Randall, Shannon Benton, Mark Adams

Photos by Doug Olmsted


  • Mark Syler: Matthew Randall
  • Dr. Farquhar: Mark Lee Adams
  • Nurse Plimpton: Shannon Benton


  • Co-Producers: Rose M. Kobylinski & Donna Reynolds
  • Director: Bruce Follmer
  • Co-Stage Managers: Julia Harrison & Susie Poole
  • Set Design: Michael DeBlois
  • Master Carpenter: Michael deBlois
  • Assisted by: Marcia Carpentier, Peter Finkel, William Kolodrubetz, Bert Koch, Robert Kraus, Peter Nerenstone, Dick Schwab, Paul Sweeney Jr., & Cal Whitehurst
  • Set Painting: Christine Palmer
  • Assisted by: Samantha Poole, Donna Reynolds, & Cal Whitehurst
  • Lighting Design: Stephanie Gaia Chu
  • Master Electrician: Kayleigh Randall
  • Assisted by: MeganBrusnahan, Robyn Cuppett, Robert Kraus, & Jay Lingenfetter
  • Sound design: Stan Harris & Bruce Follmer
  • Assisted by: David Correia
  • Costumes: Christine Palmer
  • Wardrobe: Christine Palmer
  • Assisted by: Casey Brusnahan, Barbara Helsing, Kit Sibley, & Annie Vroom
  • Proerties: Kim Gowland
  • Assisted by: Deanna Gowland
  • Set Dressing: Kim Gowland
  • Accent Coach: Carol Strachan
  • Fight Choreographer: Steve Lada
  • Special Effects: Michael deBlois
  • Photographer: Doug Olmsted

Disclaimer: Port City Playhouse provided two complimentary media tickets to ShowBizRadio for this review.

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