Cincinnati Fringe veteran Gideon Productions’ 2019 Festival offering is in keeping with the company’s reputation for balanced, entertaining yet thought-provoking theatre. The company behind the Fringe hits God Of Obsidian (2017 Linda Bowen Full Frontal Pick) and Musical Chairs (2018 Critic’s Pick Award), Gideons’ new horror drama This House Will Never Let Us Go is a sexy, subtle and startling exploration of apathy versus desire.
Joan (Rebecca Comtois) is at loose ends. She’s finished with her boyfriend Griffin (playwright Mac Rogers) and essentially homeless. Since she is only minimally employed, she can easily work from anywhere there is Wi-Fi, and Joan begins wheedling her way into housesitting gigs. She’s alone and lonely, but reluctant to get her feet under her. In the meantime, managing the rarely lived in spaces of the filthy rich suits her. When she stumbles into a remarkable job — living rent free in a luxurious beach house for an entire summer— Joan is breathless at her own good fortune.
Until she meets her very weird roommate. Joan was not expecting Iris (Kristen Vaughan), to say the least, but ultimately decides that the eccentric and surely harmless Iris might — like Joan herself — be desperate for a port in one of life’s stormier seasons. When the summer draws to a close, Joan is forced to face facts and make a life-altering decision.
Gideons’ knack for simplicity makes room for the larger, more outrageous aspects of the story. Together, Rogers, Comtois and Vaughan have the confident stage chemistry of seasoned performers who know their craft and one another well. The straightforward set and understated performances recede slightly, allowing the themes and story to sparkle and delight in the foreground. Rogers’ writing is both funny and intriguing; the play keeps its dark secrets to the bitter end.