Action/Adventure's original crime drama hits the perfect pitch, drawing out the seedy, shadowy side of Portland's central eastside like a lone saxophone.
Richard E. Moore's musical score sustains the suspense with wandering piano and haunting trumpet melodies, the white-washed set morphs elegantly with parallel sliding panels upstage and video projections give a glimpse of our detective's Google research. Zoë Rudman as Anne Winters has the smarts, the insomnia and the drinking habit of all great sleuths. Androgynous in tailored vest, disheveled button up and chucks, Winters attracts all types: femme fatale (Jade Hobbs), "good cop" (Andy Haftkowycz), corporate gatekeeper (Michael Zimmer) and other cinematic characters who hire, help or haunt the case.
Hawthorne follows a loaded missing persons case: Anne's ex, Tom (Jake Simonds), disappears, leaving his petite fiancé (Beth Summers) alone managing a vintage shop with $2500 "antique" American Girl dolls on the shelf and suspicious funding sources. Gripped by guilt, Anne siphons support from her bartender sister (Ellery Jessen) who offers reassurance like "you're a person more often then you're not."
The subtext: don't be a dick just because you're a dick. The real mystery here is how to heal from hurt enough to be human.
See it: Hawthorne is at Action/Adventure Theatre, 1050 SE Clinton St. 8 pm Thursday-Sunday, May 12-June 4. $15-$18.