Night In Alachua County

By Jennifer Rumberger

World Premiere produced by WildClaw Theatre, Chicago, IL
September 2017

“The most effective horror stories are those that are about more than just monsters… Jennifer Rumberger’s new play Night in Alachua County is one of these stories, and it’s received a wonderful premiere production from WildClaw Theatre and director Christopher M. Walsh. … There’s a sequence lit almost entirely by flashlights that’s drawn out to an excruciatingly perfect length. (Walsh has staged the show in three-quarter thrust, which is pretty perfect for a horror show, as it allows you to see the folks across from you get scared silly.)” – Alex Huntsberger, Time Out Chicago

“Given how reliant the genre can be on camera techniques to evoke dread, it’s remarkable how effective director Christopher M. Walsh’s adaptation of terror tropes is for the stage… Night is an undeniably pulse-raising experience.” – Dan Jakes, Chicago Reader

“Unexpected appearances of adversaries and allies, false refuges, panic-stricken chases and the inevitable blood and shrieks—all rendered especially effective by WildClaw Theatre Company’s deft utilization of shadow, silhouette and the densely vegetated setting’s natural gloom to create a twilight chiaroscuro facilitating the threatening images conjured by our imaginations. Amid a seasonal glut of cheap slasher-camp parodies, the results make this a smart shivery evening for likewise savvy audiences.” – Mary Shen Barnidge, Windy City Times

“The opening scenes are acted with fierce energy, and the staging by Walsh sees the actors using every exciting inch of the incredible set, designed masterfully by John Ross Wilson. … There are quiet, fearful moments milked to perfection, and I’d be lying if I wasn’t looking behind me on my walk home. Night in Alachua County is an engrossing piece of horror theatre presented by Chicago’s premiere horror theatre company.” – Jason Berger, The Hawk Chicago

Midnight Cowboy

Adapted by Christopher Hainsworth
from the novel by James Leo Herlihy

World Premiere at Lifeline Theatre, Chicago, IL
March 2016

“Director Christopher M. Walsh’s fluid staging utilizes Joe Schermoly’s unit set, which places the action via illuminated signs—bar, cafe, movie marquee, etc. Chris Hainsworth’s pithy adaptation avoids narration and is all action, retaining the novel’s ironic Biblical injunctions ( newcomer Gregory Madden is bible-thumping pimp O’Daniel). … This staging rises or falls on sympathy for Joe, the not-very-bright, uncultured, emotionally damaged man-child with a heart of gold, who realizes his failure even as a stud. Ultimately, it won me over. Ratso is lucky: he dies. The tragedy is Joe’s—a beautiful, utterly alone, wounded animal who must go on, somehow. The emotional story is about Joe Buck; the intellectual story is about sexual exploitation, which continues today in myriad ways and places, making Midnight Cowboy contemporary and ageless.” – Jonathan Abarbanel, Windy City Times

“It’s exciting to watch it work with as difficult and complicated a piece as Midnight Cowboy, and do it with such power and such passion.” – Kelly Kleiman, Dueling Critics

“The Lifeline Theatre performance space, as small as it may be, almost seamlessly transitions from seedy space to seedier space, from Houston to NYC, through the thoughtful interplay of lighting, set décor, and music (often in the form of live performances by the cast). This production is a testament to the understanding that the stage itself plays a powerful role in great storytelling. Pure and simple, Midnight Cowboy is worthwhile entertainment.” – John Adam Newton, Buzz On Stage

“Loneliness pours off Lifetime’s stage in its newest production. Director Christopher M. Walsh (no relation) keeps the transitions seamless. Livingston never leaves the stage or really changes clothes. Still, we always know where he is in present day NYC, recent past Houston or childhood in Albuquerque. Walsh has doors slide, beds move and characters change. The talented ensemble play an array of colorful folk. Midnight Cowboy is maybe the darkest play I’ve experienced at Lifeline. The loneliness, the cruelty, the sadness stings. The bittersweet ending definitely leaves a mark. After seeing it last night, I still feel bruised today.” – Katy Walsh, The Fourth Walsh