“The Moors” by Jen Silverman, presented by Durham’s Manbites Dog Theater
When a governess arrives at a desolate house on the barren English moors, the master who hired her is nowhere to be seen. Only two odd sisters live there, and there are no children. Haunting and hilarious, the show spoofs the gothic genre while making points about society’s strictures on the freedom to love.
5 Reasons to See It
1. Imagine “Jane Eyre” filtered through Mel Brooks crossed with “Wuthering Heights” conceived by John Waters and you’ll have some idea of the script’s naughty humor and bizarre spookiness.
2. The cast turns in stellar performances: Jessica Flemming’s warmly engaging governess; Tamara Kissane’s kooky, attention-starved younger sister; Jessica Hudson’s stern, lovelorn older sister; and Sarah Koop’s two different maids at the same time (changed merely with a flipped cap or slump of shoulders).
3. There’s a doomed love story between a dog and bird. (Really.) Nick Popio as a mastiff and Faye Goodwin as a moor hen each use subtle looks and gestures to create endearing human-like beings without silliness or animal costumes.
4. Director Jules Odendahl-James’ gripping, bleak vision is beautifully rendered by Sonya Leigh Drum’s forbidding set, Jenni Mann Becker’s brooding lighting, Austin F. Powers’ sounds of constant wind and Sarah McCabe’s heightened period costuming.
5. This stimulating production is a perfect example of the unique style that has kept the company a vital member of the Triangle theater community for 31 years.
The bottom line
Roy Dicks: email@example.com
What: “The Moors”
Where: Manbites Dog Theater, 703 Foster St., Durham
When: 8:15 p.m. March 1-3 and 7-10; 2 p.m. March 4
Info: 919-682-3343 or manbitesdogtheater.org