The House Theatre has swiftly built a reputation for its ability to create a spectacle, and the second installment in its Valentine Trilogy, “Curse of the Crying Heart,” provides some electrifying moments. The climactic battle, in which the wizened sages Tsuki and Mikako soar around their ancient foe the Black Ghost, is nothing short of breathtaking, while the acrobatic combat that punctuates this martial-arts pastiche consistently delivers the thrills of a Quentin Tarantino film. The performers tend to make up in gusto what they lack in technical skill, though Maria McCullough’s Princess Sakurako may have the least aristocratic accent since Tony Curtis declared, “Yonda is the castle of my fadda.” And Nathan Allen’s plot is skillfully constructed; if most of the twists are telegraphed an hour ahead, he saves a couple of disturbing surprises for the end. For all its brash excitement, though, “Curse of the Crying Heart” reminds me of the shot-by-shot remake of “Raiders of the Lost Ark” three California teenagers made a few years ago. Its ingenuity and heartfelt passion is undeniable, but it still seems like apprentice work, a station on the way to developing an authentic voice. (John Beer)
This production is now closed.