Sin Street Social Club
By Emilee Hatfield
New Orleans has such an alluring culture, one of the largest entities of what we consider southern hospitality and charm. One could ramble on and on about what set sets this city so far apart from any other. Its essence infectious as that can be agreed upon, especially around the famous celebration that is Mardi Gra. Sin Street Social Club, which just had its world premiere at the Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities, has encapsulated a New Orleans that entices the senses to the fullest.
This witty comedy, is a new spin on, Aphra Behn’s The Rover, written by Denver playwright Jessica Austgen, with direction by Lynn Collins. The comedy follows the St. Claire sisters, Florie Mae, (Emily Van Fleet) and Helen, (Jessica Robblee) as they attempt to outwit-an overprotective brother, a gangster’s moll, an ambitious rover-against the bustling streets of 1916 New Orleans, in order to save their decease father’s dying social club.
Austgen’s talent is everywhere, the clever way her character’s personalities invite the audience form the moment they enter, to their quick and engaging dialogue, the audience finds themselves right in the center of New Orleans within a blink of an eye.
There is so much that is given, so much personalty and care that not falling in love with these characters is unthinkable, especially the overly innocent Florie Mae, and strong willed Helen. Van Fleet and Robblee are unrecognizable, their comedy chops take hold of Austgen’s comedic jokes, and spin them into perfectly timed joy. Their fellow actors, such as Emma Messenger, Geoffrey Kent, Zachary Andrews, Lance Rasmussen , Regina Fernandez, Larry Cahn, and Abner Genece, create a beautiful atmosphere with so much laughs that we as the audience wish to invite them over to hear their character’s stories and marvel at their splendid talent.
With a set by Brian Mallgrave, who again, creates another extraordinary world within the black box theatre, and sound by Jason Ducat, Sin Street Social Club climbs a bold mountain of comedic feat as high as the Rockies all the while keeping you in that warmth of southern hospitality only New Orleans can provide.
The Arvada Center chose wisely when putting their faith in Austgen. By the time the curtain falls on the Sin Street Social Club, the sense of joy and awe in the air is bright. It only grows realizing this is a world premiere written by a Colorado Playwright. It is so important as encouraging local playwrights is a feat of its own, and this production presents the incredible possibilities of a bright future for playwrights in the Denver Community and the theatre productions that are to come.
Sin Street Social Club plays in repertory through May 19. For tickets you can visit
https://arvadacenter.org/sin-street-social-club or call the box office at 720-898-7200