Can a wretch be forgiven? Can a friendship survive a devastating secret? Can love conquer the unconquerable? Playwright and Director Margaret P. Bean tackles these and other questions in Treachery Lies & Deception, which played recently at the Bowie Center for the Performing Arts. Mental health and domestic violence are central themes in this relatable show.
Bean is a one-woman creative force, creating everything from set design to lighting and even a liturgical dance. It’s a fast-moving show with a can-do attitude.
Savannah Manchester, a singer at the JW Lounge, discovers that owner Justin Wells is manipulating her for his personal gain. It becomes clear that she suffers from depression. Savannah’s mental breakdown creates the conditions for additional “treachery, lies, and deceit.”
Danielle Niecy Rollins makes a good impression as Savannah. In many of her scenes, she conveys the weight of mental illness. In other scenes, she displays the vulnerability of a person trying to find their way back into healthy relationships.
Undesirable bad guy Justin Wells exploits and otherwise mistreats women. Isaac Loyal exhibits a good range in his portrayal of this character, switching between being a character the audience loves to hate and one who is sympathetic.
Shady Shanay Wells, Justin’s wife, held many secrets from her erstwhile friend Savannah. Kisha Kelly brings ample greasiness to her role. There were hard-to-watch domestic disturbance scenes between her and Loyal.
I enjoyed Antione Avery’s portrayal of Landon Smith, who yearned for Savannah and desired to free her from Justin’s sinister control. Avery excelled in scenes with Rollins, in which his desire for the not-ready-for-love Savannah was evident. “I prayed for this woman my entire life.”
I liked the interplay between Reverend Love (Cornelius Wyatt Jr.) and Lady Love (Tracy Scott). Their characters modeled a happy marriage—they danced together and always seemed to be on the same proverbial sheet of music. Wyatt powerfully intoned messages like “Let go and let God” and “Forgiveness is for you.”
Sharlesha Bradford’s annoying and “messy” Brenda Busy Body brings excitement and humor to the show. Gossip is her weapon of choice. Bradford’s colorful, garish outfits are hard to miss. Nayjah Mickens has a pivotal scene as Maxi Wells, Justin’s daughter, and Cortenia Smith plays pop-up shop owner Lorraine Dobson. Smith and Bradford’s characters have many dust-ups in this show.
Many of the scenes were tied together with the sounds of the 4 Play Band, which included Tyrone Dantley, Joshua Robinson, Xavier Gilbert, and George Gilbert. The band played such popular tunes as “Rumors” by the Timex Social Club. Unfortunately, some of the lyrics sung by Mickens and Kelly were drowned out by the music.
The scenic design was minimal. Bean simply placed chairs, tables, and other furniture in front of black curtains. The timely and minimal lighting design got the job done. Some of the stage violence seemed rudimentary.
A show rooted in truth, lies, and abuse, Treachery Lies & Deception is a show about forgiveness, healing, and secrecy. It’s a good play to start your fall theater itinerary.
Running time: One hour and 45 minutes, including a 15-minute intermission
Treachery Lies & Deception played for two performances on September 10, 2022, presented by MPB Entertainment performing at the Bowie Center for the Performing Arts, 15200 Annapolis Road/Route 450 in Bowie, MD. Tickets ($45) to MPB Entertainment’s next performance can be purchased online. For future events at Bowie Center for the Performing Arts, visit their website.
The playbill for Treachery Lies & Deception is online here.
COVID Safety: Bowie Center for the Performing Arts encourages all patrons to wear a mask, regardless of vaccination status, but we have lifted all mask mandates in accordance with Prince George’s County guidelines.
Treachery Lies & Deception
Danielle Niecy Rollins: Savannah Manchester
Antione Avery: Landon Smith
Cornelius Wyatt Jr.: Reverend Love
Tracy Scott: Lady Love
Kisha Kelly: Shady Shanay Wells
Issac Loyal: Justin Wells
Nayjah Mickens: Maxi Wells
Cortenia Smith: Lorraine Dobson
Sharlesha Bradford: Brenda Busy Body
ARTISTIC AND CREATIVE TEAM
Director: Margaret P. Bean
Stage Director: Gwen Lewis
Music: 4 Play Band – Tyrone Dantley, Joshua Robinson, Xavier Gilbert, George Gilbert
Scenic Design: Margaret P. Bean
Costume Design: Margaret P. Bean/Cast
Lighting Design: Margaret P. Bean
Fight Director: Margaret P. Bean