Sorry, Wrong Number and Maternal Instincts, Hidden Stages, at Blackwell Memorial A.M.E. Zion Church. The site for Hidden Stages’ latest venture–a community hall in the historic Bronzeville district–may lack professional resources: closely spaced supporting pillars obstruct one’s view, and the lights are operated by wall-mounted switches. But any drawbacks to the space are more than redeemed by the company’s enthusiasm and dedication as they bring theater to neighborhoods often considered artistic “flyover” territory.
Inaugurating Hidden Stages’ revival season is a double bill of one-act thrillers. Cathy and Cliff Frazier’s Maternal Instincts is a grotesque little tale of a bereaved mother who fantasizes in obsessive detail about revenge on the woman who broke her son’s heart; Valerie Tekovsky as the mom offers a deliciously shivery performance. And Lucille Fletcher’s classic radio play Sorry, Wrong Number features Hidden Stages founder Doris Craig Norris as a disabled woman who accidentally overhears two hit men planning her murder. Maia directs a praiseworthy production, deftly guiding her actors through the pitfalls of staging plays in rooms never designed to be theaters. Though replacement technicians rendered the first night of this recently extended show somewhat uneven, this grassroots company shows plenty of potential.
–Mary Shen Barnidge