Review-Den of Thieves-Aurora Theatre


By: Michael Dorsher

I enjoy black box theater productions.  Stage sets tend to be minimal, the environment is basic and the attention can stay focused on the actors and performance. It gives the players a real opportunity to bring the excitement, energy and drama to the scene. Den of Thieves takes advantage of this setting at the McAulay theater space with Aurora Theatre's new production.

The story opens with recovering-thief Maggie (Tina Ganguly) and her sponsor, fellow-recovering-thief / serial twelve step program participant Paul (Eric Krueger), as they cope with her first lapse into stealing since joining the recovery group.  Just as the two seem to be on the up and up, Maggie's no-good-nick ex-boyfriend Flaco (Joms Ortega) & replacement-babe Boochie (Angie Palmer) come along and with a heist that proves too good to pass up. It appears the road to recovery is lined with potholes for our poor Maggie.

The second half finds our thieves in a bit of a pickle as they discover that the heist is not the clean get-away promised by mastermind Flaco. We meet Sal (Andrew Laommatos), Little Tuna (David Ogilvie) & Big Tuna (Neil Runcieman) who battle over what to do about about the intruders. I think that's about as much of the plot as I can share without moving into the spoilers territory. 

The cast overall does a great job with the play.  Andrew, David and Neil hit the mark from the moment they step on stage in the second half.  Their roles provide a good deal of comic relief and I was convinced I was watching the parts on stage.  The same goes for Angie Palmer's Boochie.  Not a moment went by that she was anyone other than Boochie.  I enjoyed Joms Ortega as Flaco and Joms is always fun to watch on stage - but I could not describe it as a flawless delivery, as he tripped over words on a few occasions.  Eric Krueger's Paul is what he needs to be:  self-righteous, at times the voice of reason, at times a bit annoying.  We all know a Paul in our lives: he's not always somebody we'd like to spend 2 hours with but Eric plays it well.

With so many strong performances overall, I was a bit disappointed with Tina Ganguly's Maggie.  In the first half I couldn't shake the feeling that I'm watching someone play a part.  When bookended by the strong delivery Eric & Joms bring, Tina's performance gets washed out at times. Unfortunately, she's the protagonist. As an audience member, I want to root for her. She's the only real character who experiences any real growth. Tina's performance in the second act felt stronger than in the first but it was still a bit muted compared to the rest of the ensemble on stage.

One curious moment was during the intermission, when the stage management required us to leave the performance space for second-half setup.  Removing us from the space did set up a certain level of intrigue as to how their heist would go; unfortunately, the lobby space has a whole wall of photos that will spoil that surprise for you as soon as you follow instructions to go get your beer/wine. I'd recommend taking down the photos from Act 2 or at least those that give away the fate of the robbers.

The areas for improvement, however, are certainly not enough to take away the quality of the production overall.  The show is well worth the effort, an enjoyable viewing experience and good value for the money.

One last suggestion from this humble critic:  I would recommend a second set of eyes when reviewing the playbill.  The color combinations make it quite difficult to read and see how to give credit to those who worked hard to put together this production.

Den of Thieves is playing at the McAulay Theatre in Wanchai through Saturday. For more information, click here.


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Rate This Show: 1 2 3 4 5 Audience Rating: 3.1


  • Lily
    24 January 2014

    They should speak clearer. I struggle to understand sometime because words come so fast. Most unclear were the people with the strong accents.

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