Becca Willenbrink & Eil Keel in The Stranger and Ludlow Quin. Photo-Theatre [502].


The Stranger and Ludlow Quinn, Chapter Seven: There Are No People Here AND Chapter Eight: Bargains and Boxes

Written by Diana Grisanti and Steve Moulds
Directed by Amy Attaway

Review by Keith Waits

Entire contents copyright 2014 by Keith Waits, all rights reserved.

After a December performance was cancelled because of nasty weather, The Stranger and Ludlow Quinn returned on January 3 to catch up with two equally clever chapters that, taken together, start to answer more questions than they pose; and, with only two chapters remaining, it seems that perhaps we have turned an important narrative corner.

When last we saw Bonnie Burke (Becca Willenbrink), she was trapped in the autoscribe, Ludlow Quinn’s magical book that contains many, if not in fact all, of his secrets. Ludlow (Eli Keel) died a long time ago, but he lives on inside the autoscribe, as do all of his memories. Ludlow proves a somewhat arrogant tour guide, until Bonnie begins to surprise him with her own unexpected powers. She discovers that she can use it to reconnect with her friend Jill (Alexandria Sweatt, killed in the explosion at Murray’s Magic Shop in a previous chapter), something she should not be able to do and an act which blows Ludlow’s mind. We also find out that there may be something tangible in the paternal concern he keeps expressing about Bonnie’s presence in the book. Did Bonnie’s great-grandmother Millie (Leah Roberts) hook up with Ludlow, making Bonnie the rightful heir to his legacy? It would explain a lot.

Chapter eight brings us back to an earlier reference to Erich Weiss, aka Harry Houdini, as Bonnie and Jill (or rather her “shade”) watch events unfold between him, his wife Bess, and Millie that were never recorded in any history book but which continue to illuminate just how powerful Millie was. But what is the source of her power?

The script and direction on this series have settled into a comfortable groove that knows how to unveil surprises with skill and confidence, and the cast share a similar easy grace with their roles. It was nice to see Zachary Burrell back in action, this time as Houdini, and he is perfectly cast in the role. Jessica May makes her first appearance in the series as Bess, and after the very intriguing last scenes, the return of at least one of the Houdinis seems likely, although you can never tell for certain with The Stranger and Ludlow Quinn.  

The final two chapters are scheduled to arrive on the First Friday of February and March, with special performances of the complete story sometime in April 2014 performed at 7:00 pm, 8:00 pm, 9:00 pm, and 10:00 pm. Admission is free but donations are welcome.

The Stranger and Ludlow Quinn, Chapter Seven: There Are No People Here AND Chapter Eight: Bargains and Boxes

January 3, 2014

Theatre [502]
at The Baron’s Theatre
131 West Main Street
Louisville, KY 40202