The Roomate Review – Dark Comedy

Laurie Rose and Ellen Phelps

By Jara Kider

Laurie Rose and Ellen Phelphs

When the word “roommate” is heard it is usually associated with young adults who live together when starting out life. A “roommate” is rarely just someone who helps you split rent and utilities. Your “roommate” knows you on your deepest level and you begin to share life with one another, not just expenses. However, the typical ideology surrounding roommates is
challenged in the play “The Roommate” now playing at the Citadel Theatre
until March 3. It is an intimate production that allows the audience to feel as if they are a part of the play. Throughout the play the main characters, two women in their fifties, begin to learn to live with each other in a modest house in Iowa. Each is equally shocked by the other as they begin to uncover secrets and practices that would surely scare any roommate. The production highlights that although two individuals may seem as though they are polar opposites, they can always find common ground when they are under the same roof.

Laurie Rose

The play by Jen Silverman, directed by Beth Wolf, is outstanding. Wolf has taken many important lessons from the production and hopes that the audience will do the same. One lesson being that you should “have the courage to burn it all down and start over, if the need ever arises”. Ellen Phelps, who plays Sharon in the production, and Laurie Carter Rose, who
plays Robyn have been able to convey the lessons Wolf and Silverman have
perfectly embedded in the production.

Laurie Rose

Phelps, a Co-founder, director and actor at Citadel Theatre, has been involved in productions such as Vanya Sonia Masha and Spike, ’Til The Fat Lady Sings, Something’s Afoot, Sirens and many more. Much like Phelps, Rose has been involved in a large number of productions as well. She has performed in NYC, LA, Tokyo, London and, of course, Chicago. Some productions Rose has been involved with are La Dolce Vita, Follies, Jesus Christ Superstar, It Shoulda Been You, Into the Woods and many more note worthy plays.

Ellen Phelps


“The Roommate” appeals to an audience who enjoys satire and dark comedy. Phelps and Rose act with such gusto and uncanny ability that any one in the audience can appreciate their art and talent. The production is 90 minutes with no intermission which allows the audience to remain captivated without disruption. The stage is quaint and situated within the aisles of spectator seating. In this production, the lighting, costumes and set design are flawless and capture the tone of the play. For example, the modest kitchen of Sharon’s home falls in line perfectly with her characterization and the plot.

Laurie Rose and Ellen Phelps

It is not everyday that you can be transported into the lives of two other people, yet “The Roommate” does just that. You may have to let a laugh escape a little here and there because you are certain to pick up on the jokes tucked in. Sit back, enjoy the show and marvel at the skill of the crew and actors who were able to put on a production such as this.

Photos: Courtesy of the Citadel Theatre

For more information The Citadel website

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