GSC “The Totalitarians” is alive, funny, passionate, and crazy. Representing the very best of live regional theatre…

Tom Hauck reviews the Gloucester Stage Company’s current production, “The Totalitarians.”

In the New England premiere of “The Totalitarians,” the rollicking new play by Peter Sinn Nachtrieb now at the Gloucester Stage Company, we meet four hapless souls who have each latched onto a personal mission that they think will give their lives meaning.

Perky blonde Penelope Easter (Breean Julian) desperately wants to get elected to any high office in the state of Nebraska. In her Quixotic quest she is aided and abetted by Francine (Amanda Collins), a hack campaign manager who sees in Penny a potent vehicle for her own nationwide ambitions. Meanwhile, Francine’s physician husband, Jeffrey (Lewis D. Wheeler), wants his wife to set her sights on having children. He’s pulled into the election drama by his patient Ben (Alex Portenko), a mentally unstable cancer victim who’s convinced that Nebraska is being prepped for a dictatorship.

The result is a dark comedy in which the four characters expend tremendous energy—both emotional and physical—in pursuit of their objectives. The audience’s laughter is quickly followed by gasps of horror as the stakes get higher and the plot hurtles toward the inevitable collision of competing desires.

There are many good reasons to hurry to the Gloucester Stage Company before the show closes on September 24 and heads to New York. Cristina Todesco’s scenic design, a foreboding wall built of mysterious doors, is stunning. The four actors, ably directed by Jeff Zinn, hurl themselves into their parts with astonishing energy and passion. The message of the play is timely yet everlasting. But perhaps the best reason is that “The Totalitarians” is alive, funny, passionate, and crazy. Representing the very best of live regional theatre, what unfolds on the stage is an experience that you can’t get anywhere else at any price.

Now playing September 1st through September 24th. For more information and tickets, visit the Gloucester Stage Company website here.

Strong language – mature audiences only.

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