“Framing the Shot” by Allan Maule, presented by Raleigh’s Sonorous Road Theatre
Professional photographer Nicola has a secret second job: sharpshooting assassin for a Chicago crime syndicate. Terri, Nicola’s needy next-door neighbor, breathlessly barges in to tell Nicola about nearly being hit by a bullet in the street. Lance, Nicola’s criminal boss, pays her a visit with concerns about her current assignment. Comic developments ensue.
Allan Maule’s sitcom-style script has a clever cat-and-mouse premise, along with consistently funny punch lines, keeping the audience guessing about how it will end.
Lorelei Lemon turns in a career-defining performance as Terri. With director Ira David Wood IV’s help, the initially irritating character emerges as highly sympathetic in her quest to make a friend and gain self-worth. Lemon’s hilarious portrayal is stage filling but knowingly avoids caricature.
Heather Strickland’s fight choreography in the final scene’s big three-way brawl is quite believable, impressively physicalized by the cast.
A Little Off Target
Michelle Murray Wells plays Nicola’s balancing act between two different lives amusingly, but her delivery is often low on energy and her characterization inconsistent. Patrick Whalen’s Lance has a gangster’s body language and crass accent but doesn’t fully project the character’s underlying menace.
Wider from the Mark
Maule layers in messages about mortality and living life to the fullest, but they lie uncomfortably within the otherwise lighthearted material, which also dilutes the human comedy with some overdone slapstick.
Recommended for Lemon’s funny, lovable Terri and the play’s intriguing premise.
What: “Framing the Shot”
Where: Sonorous Road Theatre, 3801 Hillsborough St., Suite 113, Raleigh
When: 8 p.m. March 16-17, 19, 22-24; 3 p.m. March 18, 25
Info: 919-803-3798 or sonorousroad.com