Brown University’s Sock and Buskin and Theatre Arts and Performance Studies have a reputation of tackling challenging plays and musicals. This time it is Kander and Ebb’s musical “Kiss of the Spider Woman.”
Using the large stage at Stuart Theatre, director Marcus Gardley has assembled a fine group of students who are capable of handling the dance numbers choreographed by Taavon Gamble and Brandon Shaw, and the integration of the raw prison scenes with the fantasy dream scenes.
Evan Strauss plays Molina the gay window dresser, in his third year of an eight-year term, who creates movies in his mind to block out the torture he hears in the background. He is placed in a cell with Valentin (Teng Yang) and offered rewards for getting information out of him. Molina is a talker, trying to engage conversation with Valentin, who just wants to be left alone. He even draws a line between their two beds, with a strict rule to never cross it.
The musical picks up steam in the second act of this two-hour and 20-minute production that is filled with some powerful songs, including “Over the Wall,” which is reprised more than once.
“Kiss of the Spider Woman” is a powerful, political play that requires the actors to run the gamut of emotions, and the actors go from rage to resolve as scenes change from reality to fantasy.
The musical is at Brown’s Stuart Theatre, 77 Waterman St., Providence, through November 11. For tickets call 863-2838.