This stylistically unique production adds a layer of
significance to the simple story being relayed. With a title that hints at
multiple aspects of the plot, SIGNALS OF DISTRESS is a tale of one
well-meaning man, and his encounters on a journey to a depressed seaside
It is the 1830’s, and folks looking for a better life
have decided to emigrate to the N. American continent. One passenger ship
becomes grounded near a small English village, and the voyagers quickly
overwhelm the one, unnamed inn in the town. It is in the midst of this mess
that our unlikely hero, Aymer Smith (Richard Crawford), takes a stand
against slavery under the cover of the dark night. Smith’s mores have
obvious effect upon all those he encounters in the village. The results are
often humorous, but are occasionally violent.
SIGNALS OF DISTRESS is a minimal production that
utilizes mime, body language and the light-and-shadows set design to
heighten dramatic intensity. There are the usual suspects to contend with: a
wenchy woman; some lusty sailors; an ambitious girl; her haggard mother; the
newlyweds; the never-weds; and, of course, the man with the dark and devious
heart. With relatively fast-paced action, and believable characterizations
to grab at the imagination, this spirited adaptation is engrossing from
start to finish.
For singing, dancing, mirth, and maybe even murder too,
voyage to the past with The Flying Machine and SIGNALS OF DISTRESS.
- Kessa De Santis -