‘The Credeaux Canvas’

‘The Credeaux Canvas,’ a comedy by Keith Bunin, opened last Wednesday night to a packed house at the Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati.

‘The Credeaux Canvas’ is the story of three people who put together their talent, beauty and cunning in an attempt to scam an old art collector for a lot of cash.

After the death of his father, Jaime, played Andrew Burkhart, devises a scheme to have his roommate, Winston, played by Mike DiSalvo, create a painting in the style of an obscure, but emerging artist using Jaime’s girlfriend, Amelia, played by Carrie L. Ragsdale, as the subject of the painting. Throw in some mixed up emotions, deceptions gone wrong and friendships torn apart and you have ‘The Credeaux Canvas.’

This play is amazing in its simplicity, yet totally entertaining and hilarious. It captures the humor in everyday banter between friends while also pointing out the raw emotion experienced by these characters. The characters remind you of someone you know and strike you as people you could meet anywhere.

Mike DiSalvo is superb as Winston, a nervous, but talented artist who shuts himself off from other people. From the quirks of tugging on his shirtsleeves to his curt, cruel words to Amelia, DiSalvo is an amazing talent.

Andrew Burkhart, as Jaime, is also wonderful. Although, because of his abrasiveness and somewhat sly behavior, he isn’t as likeable as the other characters, Burkhart still brings him to life in a raw, emotional way. He fills the mold Bunin cast for Jaime.

Amelia, played by Carrie L. Ragsdale, is a character with so much emotion and such feeling, that Ragsdale’s performance is breathtaking. Through the emotions of destroying a love and kindling a new one and through the heart-breaking scenario of an abortion, she comes off a completely real. There is never a discernible moment when her heart isn’t completely in her character.

As Tess, a character that appears on stage for a maximum of twenty minutes, Dale Hodges wowed the audience with her performance. She even received her own ovation as she exited the scene. She is delightful as an older art collector who illuminates not only the forgery of the painting, but also some of the feelings between our trio. She is absolutely fantastic. Her credits also include ‘Death of a Salesman,’ ‘The Vagina Monologues’ and ‘A Christmas Carol.’

‘The Credeaux Canvas,’ directed by M. Patrick Deavy, absolutely sparkled during its run at the Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati. It wouldn’t be at all surprising to see any of the names associated with this play go on not only to more plays within Cincinnati, but also to plays on a national level as well.