Bonnie and Clyde Review
Innovation Theatre Works - Bend, Oregon

The Source Weekly
By Suzanne Burns

Innovation Theatre Works launched its first production in its new space, the Bend Performing Arts Center. Bonnie and Clyde: The Musical, directed by Brad Hills and produced by Chris Rennolds, the founders and artistic directors of Innovation Theatre Works, is a two-person play that takes us to the steamy heart of 1930s Texas as the infamous Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker meet, fall in love, and commence with a life of crime.

Married leads Jessica and Jeremy Bernard command the stage with not only their pitch-perfect singing, but also with their ability to create empathy for two lawless characters.

Born and raised in Bend, Jessica has been a professional actor in L.A. for the past six years. It is easy to be drawn in by her beauty and voice, but Jessica is also able to walk that fine line between cock-eyed optimism and a dark, overwhelming attraction to her partner in crime.

Jeremy Bernard, a member of the Actors Equity Association, brings a subtle, sociopathic quality to Clyde that was absent in the Warren Beatty film version, complete with a believable Texas drawl. A handsome lead in his own right, Jeremy is able to win the audience over to his brash disrespect of the law with a winning, toothy smile and the voice of a songbird.

The minimalist stage, centered in the theater, adds immediacy to the production, and a strange tension as the audience follows the actors through their break-ups and make-ups as if eavesdropping on a courtship doomed from the start.  Musical Director Austin James Turner sets the tone with his piano while Ellen Christian dresses the characters in period splendor.  Watch for Clyde's grey suit and Bonnie's iconic beret.

If Bonnie and Clyde: The Musical is any indication of what it means to have a professional theater in Bend where we can be exposed to working actors and challenging, exciting scripts, then we, as a community, are lucky to have Innovation Theatre Works as the newest member of Bend's theatrical family.

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