Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Review - The Storms of November by Nimbus Theatre

Pictured: Alyssa Perau, Brian O'Neal, Heidi Berg, Zach Morgan
Photographer: Todd Craig
T. S. Eliot states that "April is the cruelest month." If you are a ship on one of the Great Lakes, however, November is the cruelest month.

November is the month for storms on the Great Lakes. The odd thing is that the 10th and 11th seem to be the worst. The Storms of November, written by Josh Cragun and directed by Liz Neerland, tells the story of one of the big ships and storms. Ships alone on a big lake, solitary, storms, relationships between the crew, hints of a mystery...all making for a really good story. So how do you show all this on stage?

The M/V Marie Kearns arrives in port
Photographer: Todd Craig
Nimbus Theatre has done a fantastic job building the front of a ship on the stage. It takes up almost three-quarters of the stage and is almost overpowering, yet it is used so well. The rest of the stage is set as a small cafe in a Northern Minnesota harbor town.

The story starts with a shipwreck and the saving of a young girl who is found floating in Lake Superior. From there it covers a lot of ground (or water, in this case), from business changes, to family issues, the best path from one harbor to another, how to survive a storm, and more. It was thoroughly interesting and kept my attention for the two-hour running time. The cast is great throughout, even while changing characters.

It is clear that Josh Cragun has a true love for the story and the setting. His comments in the program are really interesting and explain a lot about his view. I'm afraid that his love for the story may overshadow the script by trying to include too much history and myth. The history and myth is fascinating, there is no doubt, but it takes some focus away from the throughline of the story.

That being said, please go see this production while you can. It is a good solid show and Nimbus Theatre is a great theatre company. Nimbus is losing their current space at the end of the year, so please help support them now and wherever they end up.