Review: Rhinoceros

Rhinoceros; 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 2 p.m Sunday; $15-$20. Falcon’s Eye Theatre, Harris Center for the Arts, 10 College Parkway in Folsom; (916) 608-6888; Through November 22.
Rated 4.0

Out of nowhere, on a sunny day in France, a rhinoceros thunders through a small town, jolting the cafe patrons and leaving them to question where the animal came from. And then the rhinos start to multiply as the town's people begin to disappear. What's happening to his fellow townspeople is the quandary that presents itself to the main character Berenger in Eugene Ionesco's avant-garde classic Rhinoceros, now being staged by the Falcon’s Eye Theatre at Folsom Lake College.

Rhinoceros is a lot of heady talk about philosophy, morality, conformity and mob mentality, with quirkiness in dialogue, plot and storyline. Most the time Rhinoceros works, sometimes not so much.

But the people at Falcon’s Eye Theatre bring enough acting chops and production values to make Rhinoceros worth checking out. Since the main weakness in this production is its first act, if they tighten it, the audience could get pulled into the absurdity much sooner. Wesley A. Murphy brings a haunting humanity to Berenger, a man struggling with life, but wanting to hang on to reality.

A special shout-out to the production team for its colorful costumes, creative props, effective lighting and sound design. This production has all the earmarks of what’s made Falcon’s Eye Theatre one of the leading local theaters in technical stage design. The slanting stage thrusts the action into the audience, while the walls, created from window shutters, and the wooden-slate floor begin to fall apart as Berenger’s life starts to crumble as well.