ORLANDO — Early reviews are in for Freeline Productions’ original thriller “Murder Sleep,” which opens at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Orlando International Fringe Theater Festival.
The play, written by Michael Freeman and directed by Laurel Clark and Jim Cundiff, features Steven Johnson, Mickey Layman and Sara Cutlip as three people staying at a strange historic hotel in Fort Lauderdale.
Orlando Sentinel critic Lania Berger praised the play’s updating of a Shakespeare classic, humor, and one of the performers in particular.
“In this re-imagining of Shakespeare’s ‘Macbeth,’ author Michael Freeman sets his scene for sex, blood and murder in a historic Fort Lauderdale hotel room in the 21st century,” she wrote.
Berger noted her appreciation for Cutlip’s performance as the mysterious and enigmatic Francesca, writing, “Sara Cutlip is convincing as an exotic hooker who uses her sexual prowess to persuade the unsuspecting and ecstasy-tripping Ryan (Steve Johnson) to murder the man in room 1238, thus making himself ‘rich as a king.’ ”
Berger also noted that “I loved the ‘Macbeth’ references throughout,” and the humorous banter between the two men.
Writing in Archikulture Digest, critic Carl F Gauze praised the play as “a pretty cool ghost story” and noted, “it does not feel like one at all until the end and when the lights come up you know you’ve been on a carefully constructed ride.”
“Murder Sleep” is being performed in the Purple Venue (Patron’s Room) at the Lowndes Shakespeare Center. Tickets are $10 and show times are:
* Wednesday May 18 at 8:30 p.m.
* Saturday May 21 at 1:30 p.m.
* Monday May 23 at 10:30 p.m.
* Wednesday May 25 at 10 p.m.
* Saturday May 28 at 8:30 p.m.
* Sunday May 29 at 11:30 p.m.
The show is 60 minutes long.