Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: Albuquerque/Santa Fe

Gruesome Playground Injuries
Duke City Repertory Theatre
Review by Billy Trabaudo

Also see Dean's review of Bad Jews

Amelia Ampuero and Ezra Colón
Photo Courtesy of Duke City Repertory Theatre
Stop reading this review and go buy tickets for Duke City Repertory's production of Gruesome Playground Injuries. Once you have a ticket, you're welcome to finish reading.

Gruesome Playground Injuries is not the most appealing title in the stacks, but anyone familiar with this script knows the play is both profound and challenging. There are interesting challenges for each element of a production. The story is a nonlinear telling of a friendship that spans much of the two characters' lives, with many locations, various costumes, and, yes, many different injuries.

It is not often, in Albuquerque theatre, that an entire production comes seamlessly together. It is even rarer when faced with a difficult script. Duke City Repertory Theatre not only spins a cohesive production, they do it with the grace and ease of true professionals.

The set, designed by Chesapeake Dalrymple, which at first glance appears nondescript, reveals itself as magically versatile and becomes a character itself. The lighting, also by Ms. Dalrymple, is inventive and contemporary. The use of fluorescents paired with LED color works magic and complements the scenic painting. The costumes, by an unnamed designer, do a fine job of holding the timeline together for the audience. Such a good job in fact, that abandoning the sometimes cumbersome projections might be in order. Otherwise, the technical aspects support and enhance the direction and acting, while being works of art in themselves.

Director David Sinkus has a wonderful eye for detail. Such attention is a rare find, and it is reflected in just about every moment of this production. From the smallest silver bowl to dynamic staging, Mr. Sinkus leaves no moment behind.

Despite all of that praise, I have saved the best for last. Ezra Colón and Amelia Ampuero are masterful as Doug and Kayleen. Mr. Colón brings an incredibly nuanced performance to the stage, one which could only be enhanced by the dynamic elegance of Ms. Ampuero's acting. The depth of their performances seems nearly boundless.

Opening night was nearly sold out and everyone, theatre professionals and theatregoers alike, should flock to this production.

Gruesome Playground Injuries runs through October 1st, 2017, Thursday through Saturday at 8pm and Sunday at 2pm. Tickets are only $12.00. For more information, visit