SHADOWLANDS – Written by William Nicholson; Directed by Dan Schock. Produced by Coal Creek Theater of Louisville (Presented at the Louisville Center for the Arts, 801 Grant Avenue, Louisville) through May 18th. Tickets available at 

HADOWLANDS – Written by William Nicholson; Directed by Dan Schock.  Produced by Coal Creek Theater of Louisville (Presented at the Louisville Center for the Arts, 801 Grant Avenue, Louisville) through May 18th.  Tickets available at 

At the beginning of the evening, a rather smug and self-satisfied author C.S. Lewis (known as Jack to his friends) (portrayed by Andy Anderson) is addressing the audience in the manner of a Pen and Podium speech.  He is an author; therefore, it follows that he has figured things out and knows more than the rest of us about nearly everything.  This night he’s exploring the correlation between love and pain reviewing God’s role in both.  We later see him with his comrades as they trade gossip and philosophy; they are all nearly as intellectual and self-absorbed as Jack. Through these discussions, we get a rather clear picture of his place in the world, his place in Oxford, and his place in his life. 

Which is about to be brought to its knees in the form of a brash young American woman (Beth Crosby) who has fallen in love with him through his writing and the unexpected fact that he wrote back when she wrote to him.  Joy has a plan involving Jack already, although neither of them are quite aware of it initially.  Their growing relationship softens the awkwardness of him and enhances the boldness of her.  It also serves as an illustration of Lewis’ theories about the juncture of love and pain. 

More talk than action, the script however does carry one along with the story.  This cast tells it well.  The supporting actors – sometimes taking more than one part – create a smooth ensemble that supports the story of Jack and Joy.  I especially enjoyed the quiet unflappable work of veteran Steve Rausch as Jack’s brother and roommate in yet another of his quiet unflappable roles in which he nails every nuance of his characters part in the story.  Beth Crosby, a recent addition to the CCTL family, has an easy grace and a likable self-effacing attitude toward the situation in which she finds herself (or created to live out her plan – you choose).  If Adam Farland was directed to be obnoxious and annoying, he nailed it.  His over-bearing and, at times, rude character couldn’t say a nice word about Joy even considering the happiness she brought Jack.  The program says that Millie Marquez, drafted into playing Joy’s son, is a 5th grade student.  Her maturity and calmness on stage belies her youth and foretells a distinguished career for this young lady. 

Of course, the moving force in this script is the character of Jack Lewis given a solid portrayal by Andy Anderson.  Andy’s experience on the stage was evident in the way he moved the story forward, going from awkward unlikely suitor to besotted caregiver.  The audience enjoyed seeing his uneasiness around Joy at first, how he would shy away whenever she got too close or reached out to touch him.  Unfortunately, the script does not give enough time to let their relationship simmer a little longer, rather asking him to develop into a devoted suitor during the intermission.  But all in all, it’s a relationship we revel in seeing grow.  Andy handles both sides of his character with grace. 

I love going up to Coal Creek Theater.  It’s a nice drive from Denver, not too far but still feels like “out of town.”  A plethora of fine restaurants to find a meal.  A lovely park containing a well-appointed little theatre.  And nice people that I’m beginning to recognize from their times on the stage.  One would wish occasionally for walls for their acting space, but they always manage to solve the technical problems of the script creatively.  One criticism: Their runs – at three weeks – are too short.  It’s too easy to miss a production when you only have three weekends from which to choose. 

A WOW factor of 8.5!

1 thought on “SHADOWLANDS

  1. Ron Marquez

    Totally enjoyed the performances ! It was a captivating show and all the actors were excellent!


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