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THE NATURAL HORSE Alleyway Theatre
Nov 1, 2023, 13:58
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Through November 11
THE NATURAL HORSE Alleyway Theatre

“The Natural Horse” doesn’t make it to the finish line.
T. Adamson’s play on the Alleyway stage is about a family crazed enough to allow a feral horse to move into their house, actually into the house.
It’s not clear in the playbill who designed and/or built the horse’s marvelous equine costume.
It may be the best role in the show, even when the head end shifts from Todd Benzin to Philip Farugia.
The Karenina family lives in an HOA in Racine, Wisconsin, Russian immigrant parents Anton (Farugia) and Svetka (Aleks Malejs) and daughters Masha (Christine Turturro) and Lil Gemini (Annette Daniels Taylor).
Masha hangs out with schoolmate Charlotte (Yamilex Holguín Pérez), as they wait for those old-fashioned letters from colleges they have applied to.
Masha wants Northwestern.
Svetka is apparently an architect in a town where Frank Lloyd Wright once lived and designed houses.
Anton seems to do little but take up space in the basement.
This is all complicated by the horse trundling through the house, with the actors in the costume clearly choreographed on doing this while climbing stairs and dodging furniture.
The family isn’t doing well and the casual travel of the horse makes it clear.
There is also the problem that homeowners alliance doesn’t allow horses.
Enter smarmy Kirk (Benzin) representing the HOA and threatening punishment because of the horse while handing out samples of products made by his employer, clearly patterned on S.C. Johnson.
This is all a mix of a seriously troubled family, an HOA which is almost stereotypical and a teenager who wants to get away from her parents and into the wider world.
The show offers supertitles on a screen high on the set for some of the dialogue.
There are moments to be remembered, like Benzin’s performance as one of those really officious and megalomaniac HOA officers.
There are also minutes as Masha dreams of getting out.
“The Natural Horse” is one of those plays with flashes of good and not.


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