Gore Bay Theatre nails Crime and Punishment down cold

Chris Cayen (Raskolnikov), Jessica Lajoie (Sonia) and Vincente Belenson pose for a photo following the Gore Bay Theatre Sunday matinee performance of Dostoyevsky’s ‘Crime and Punishment.’

GORE BAY—Taking a massive tome like Dostoyevsky’s ‘Crime and Punishment’ and whittling it down to a 90-minute stage production is an incredible accomplishment, and Marilyn Campbell and Curt Columbus pulled it off in award winning style. But taking three characters, bringing them to life and developing the key storyline takes incredible dedication, hard work and talent. In the two productions delivered onstage this past Saturday and Sunday, the cast and crew of the Gore Bay Theatre simply nailed it down cold.

This isn’t comedy. There were no laugh-a-minute diversions or slapstick routines to leaven the loave in this production. The action was gut wrenching, raw and emotional, with each of the actors laying bare the souls of their characters in a manner that captured the attention of the audience, riveted it to the stage and did not relinquish its hold for a single moment of the 90-minute run.

Chris Cayen’s Raskolnikov ripped the flesh from the skin of the main character, laying bare the soul of a tortured brilliant young man under the glare of the stage lights.

Vincent Belenson’s relentless detective Porfiry Petrovitch was played with exquisite understatement, helping to define the character of Raskolnikov and rounding out the edges with the skill that only such a well-seasoned thespian could bring to the role. Mr. Belenson’s facility at filling in the role of Sonia’s father and the accusatory role of conscience were adroitly performed with such smooth transition that there was no interruption or interference with the suspension of credulity.

Jessica Lajoie’s Sonia drew further nuance on the canvas that was Raskolnikov, lending pathos and likability to a misguided young man who committed so heinous a crime. Ms. Lajoie’s portrayal of the evil pawnbroker and her saintly sister proved the impressive range of her character skills as well.

The stage was set in simple style, with the more complex set pieces designed by award winning stagecraft maestro Richard Gamelin having to be left out of this production to await their turn on the larger QUONTA stage.

The original music composed and performed by Jean Lavalle complimented the production beautifully and sound technician Dylon Whyte ensured the timing was impeccably executed.

Co-directors Andrea Emmerton and Walter Maskel have created a masterpiece in this work that certainly deserves wide recognition and stands as an outstanding credit to all of the Gore Bay Theatre company.

Michael Erskine