Review: From These Fatal Loins (Ruckus Theater)

| March 11, 2016

Jillian Rea as Juliet and Christopher Waldron in From These Fatal Loins, Ruckus          

From These
   Fatal Loins

Written by  Dan Caffrey
Berry United Methodist Church,
    4745 N. Leavitt (map)
thru March 12  |  tix: $15-$20  |  more info
Check for half-price tickets   


Romeo and Juliet meet Quentin Tarantino


Kyle Encinas, Tiffany Williams, Sarah Koerner, and Nathaniel Fishburn in From Fatal Loins

Ruckus Theater presents
From These Fatal Loins

Review by Keith Glab

What if Romeo and Juliet had successfully faked their deaths? This is the intriguing question posited by Dan Caffrey in his world premiere, From These Fatal Loins. Initially, the premise concerns how the young couple of "Romie" (Christopher Waldron) and "Jules" (Jillian Rea) – the embodiment of perfect love – might have easily fizzled had their relationship lasted for more than a few days.

Jillian Rea as Juliet and Christopher Waldron in From These Fatal LoinsTo say that the production diverts from this theme would be considerable understatement. The ecstatic lovers sail away, but suddenly find themselves at a carnival in modern day Nevada. They begin to go on a random Natural Born Killers style murder spree, which re-ignites their dwindling sex life. As celebrities, they not only watch various Romeo and Juliet films interested in how people see them and changed their ‘real’ story, but occasionally run into visions of their old selves (Nathaniel Fishburn, Tiffany Williams) who remind them of how they were pre time travel/killing spree.

Eventually "The Star-Crossed Killers" run into Friar Laurence (Kyle Encinas), who had helped them fake their deaths. The good friar is working as an Elvis impersonator at a casino, and themes of pedophilia arise when he suddenly tries to engage in a threesome with the young teens.

Bloody sheets adorn the four walls of this space and comprise most of the set along with a bed and a rolling wood platform that serves as the magic boat. The cast uses coarse language and vocal timber to really distance itself from Shakespeare’s elegant poetry. The costuming follows a similar pattern, with every actor walking barefoot (Waldron’s foot bled noticeably opening night) and most wearing dingy modern clothes. Strangely, half of the props are actual objects while the cast mimes the other half. The lighting is stark and lacks any subtlety, but this appears to be a limitation of Ruckus’ performance space more so than the design.

Christopher Waldron and Jillian Rea in From Fatal Loins, Ruckus TheatreChristopher Waldron and Jillian Rea in From These Fatal Loins, Ruckus Jillian Rea, Sarah Koerner, and Christopher Waldron in From Fatal Loins, RuckusKyle Encinas as Friar Laurence in From These Fatal Loins, Ruckus Theatre Tiffany Williams, Nathaniel Fishburn, Christopher Waldron and Jillian Rea in From Fatal Loins

Throughout the numerous themes, confusing plot, and dubious production values, the cast remains committed to very physical performances. It’s still difficult to become invested in them because their characters are so unlikeable and their performances, while adequate, aren’t memorable. Some nice moments do emerge – particularly when the two versions of Romeo and Juliet ethereally mirror each other – but more often get lost in the context of an unfocused production.

From These Fatal Loins presents a clever concept that just doesn’t follow through with clarity. What could have been a poignant exploration of the false ideals surrounding love too often devolves into senseless sex and violence. Shakespeare’s Romeo describes love as "a wise form of madness." Ruckus Theater could use more wisdom and less madness in their exploration of love.

Rating: ★★

From These Fatal Loins continues through March 12th at Berry United Methodist Church, 4745 N. Leavitt (map), with performances Thursdays-Saturdays at 7:30pm, plus Saturday matinees at 3pm.  Tickets are $15-$20, and are available by phone (800-838-3006) or online through (check for half-price tickets at More information at time: 85 minutes, no intermission)

Christopher Waldron, Kyle Encinas and Jillian Rea in From These Fatal Loins

Photos by Austin D. Oie 




Christopher Waldron (Romeo), Jillian Rea (Juliet), Kyle Encinas (Friar Laurence, Ensemble), Nathaniel Fishburn (Prince, Ensemble), Sarah Koerner (Capulet, Ensemble), Tiffany Williams (Montague, Ensemble)

behind the scenes

Derek Van Barham (director), G. Maxin IV (set design, lighting, projections), Kallie Noelle Rolison (sound design), Chris Chapin (stage manager), Kate Leslie (asst. director), Austin D. Oie (photos)

Christopher Waldron and Jillian Rea in From Fatal Loins, Ruckus


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Category: 2016 Reviews, Keith Glab, Ruckus Theater, William Shakespeare

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