“Girl in the Red Corner” Packs a Punch at the Know Theatre

Review by Raechel Lombardo of “Girl in the Red Corner”: Know Theatre

If you and a friend or spouse are arguing over whether to see something sporty or artistic for the night out, the Know Theatre has just the right compromise for you with their production of “Girl in the Red Corner.”  Stephen Spotswood has written a fun play that mixes the annoyance and overbearing vibes that accumulate at home and at work with the physical manifestation of aggressive release in the fighting ring, and director Tamara Winters does an impeccable job blending these different types of aggression beautifully.

Abi Esmena as Gina is so natural in her acting and fighting abilities, when she’s on stage it honestly feels like you’re just listening in on a training session and she’s both silly to lighten the mood and raw when you push the right buttons. It doesn’t even seem like I’m watching an actor, it feels like this is really her life and profession.

Mindy Heithaus as Brinn is so authentic in her older sister/nearing divorce/trying to control a rebellious child/while also finding herself role.  It’s so enjoyable to watch her shift so effortlessly into all kinds of emotions and depths of her character’s personality or feelings towards a situation.

Jennifer Joplin as Terry/Nancy/Gina’s Opponent is a riot to watch as she bounces from scatter-brained mom who is struggling, that “happy to be here” saleswoman we have all encountered in some way, and the tough fighter.  A perfect choice to play multiple characters that need to all be distinct from each other.

Tess Talbot as Halo provides a great combo of being that awkward newcomer in a coming-of-age sort of genre and a girl becoming a strong woman and maturing.  She’s incredible for the role that ties everyone’s life lessons together and is very expressive in body and face.

Adam Tran as Warren/Kyle/Bar Dude knows how to make all his characters lovable pushovers while also giving that individualistic distinction about where they are in life at the end of the day that identifies if things are just a ray of sunshine or if not all is well at home.

I tip my hat to all the actors who were bruised from all of their previous fight rehearsals I’m sure, and a round of applause for the incredible fight choreography by K Jenny Jones and MMA Advisor Jeremy Pender.  This is also a nod to Resident Stage Manager Meghan Winter and Assistant Stage Manager Eva Schramm, as I’m sure this was nerve-wracking to maintain and judge at fight call!

Nothing was sugar-coated, it really feels you’re getting into the early rounds of an MMA fight, achieved by lighting, sound, set, and costuming, made possible by Scenic and Lighting Designer Andrew J. Hungerford, Costume Designer Noelle Wedig-Johnston, Sound Designer Doug Borntrager, Technical Director Nick Koehlke, Master Carpenter Jim Stark, and Scenic Painter Olivia Leigh.  The stage is always the fighting ring; lighting indicates location such as dim fluorescent lighting to give an office cubicle aesthetic; sound also indicates location and tone in the scene, and costuming occasionally includes topical distinguishable character pieces, but is always faithful to being workout clothes and barefoot.

I urge you to get a bit of everything with fighting, life problems many have been affected by, and really interesting artistic choices by coming to see this show, it’s really something different and enjoyable. “Girl in the Red Corner” runs through Aug 17th, tickets at their website, https://knowtheatre.com.