The reviews are in for ‘The K of D’ at Illusion Theater

At the heart of theater is storytelling. And in the case of “The K of D” at Illusion Theater in Minneapolis, theater wears its heart on its sleeve.

“The K of D” stands for “the kiss of death,” a power the neighborhood kids believe has been bestowed upon young Charlotte after the death of her brother.

The 90 minute play features one woman, a skateboard, and a simple set, but critics say “The K of D” manages to transport audiences to a small Ohio town with crisp clarity.

Read the excerpts from local reviews below; click on the links to read them in their entirety:


Renata Friedman in The K of D at Illusion Theater in Minneapolis

Photo by Chris Bennion

From Ed Huyck at City Pages:

The one-woman show takes the audience on a dizzying, Stephen-King-like tour of a small Ohio town and the strange events that surround a man-made lake one summer.

Writer Laura Schellhardt has a real ear for the everyday details of run-down, small-town life, and that comes out in every corner of the production.

…The Stephen King vibe goes beyond the subject matter. Many of King’s best works turn on the actions of youth as they live below the view of the adults. In K of D, these kids spread stories, “investigate” the goings on, and even hatch a rather lame-brained plan to get back at their neighborhood’s main antagonist.


Renata Friedman in The K of D at Illusion Theater in Minneapolis

Photo by Chris Bennion

From Sheila Regan at TC Jewfolk:

The main character, Charlotte, never speaks, after the death of her brother. It’s an interesting choice on the part of Chicago Playwright Laura Schellhardt to not allow the central character to have a chance to share her story- even if it were just her thoughts. All we know of Charlotte is what the narrator tells us, and in Friedman’s physical realization of her character, which is very good. Still, it would have been nice to get inside a little bit more in her head, somehow. Indeed, because there is such a fast switching from character to character, there’s not much of a chance to identify with any of the characters.


Renata Friedman in The K of D at Illusion Theater in Minneapolis

Photo by Chris Bennion

From Sophie Kerman at Aisle Say Twin Cities:

With Charlotte serving as the mute center, “The K of D” tells us just as much about the act of storytelling as about the legend itself. Both Abraham and Friedman have been inspired to revisit this play again and again, perhaps because – despite the play’s apparent simplicity – there seem to be an endless number of layers to peel away. Where is the line between imagination and wishful thinking? voyeurism and curiosity? chilling violence and fitting revenge? This gripping story emerges at just that mysterious moment when the appetite to know turns into the need to create. It may be easy to be a skeptic – but “The K of D” fills our deepest, darkest desire to believe.


Renata Friedman in The K of D at Illusion Theater in Minneapolis

Photo by Chris Bennion

From Christina Ham at

Ms. Schellhardt’s tale of modern folklore seems to run short on sufficient suspense and pacing, and instead the script seems to emphasize poetic language and ambience. In a genre that relies heavily on elements of anticipation, dread, and uncertainty, The K of D falls short of its payoff.

What does not fall short is the beautifully realized production by director Braden Abraham and his terrific design team that make this play run like an efficient machine. Matt Starritt creates a lush soundscape that characterizes St. Marys: the wind stirring through the tall grass, the song of the crickets, and the beating of heron wings are just a few takeaways from his aural landscape. The single set design by Mr. Abraham and L.B. Morse, and the stellar lighting by Robert Aguilar conjure the summer evenings of this sleepy town. Bolstered by Mr. Abraham’s production and Ms. Friedman’s performance they make The K of D’s peek at spooked small-town culture worth the visit during this Halloween season.


Renata Friedman in The K of D at Illusion Theater in Minneapolis

Photo by Chris Bennion

From Lisa Brock at the Star Tribune:

In a tour-de-force performance, actor Renata Friedman takes on more than a dozen different roles to tell the story of the consequences of this fateful kiss. She displays a chameleon-like command of voice and body language as she conjures the gang of kids who are Charlotte’s friends. There’s the blustering, posturing Quisp Drucker, self-styled leader of the group; mature-beyond-her-years Becky Ray Von, who smokes a bubble-gum cigarette with the panache of a Hollywood vamp; the earnest and ultimately noble Trent Hoffman; the dizzily empty-headed Steffi Post, and the silent, withdrawn Charlotte who’s at the center of this story.

“The K of D” is stunning in its simplicity. With only one prop — a skateboard — Friedman re-creates a time and place and the small world of individuals that inhabit it out of little more than her own versatile performance.

“The K of D” runs through October 22 at Illusion Theater. Have you seen the show? If so, what did you think? Share your review in the comments section.

Comments are closed.