by Wilma Salisbury
THE PLAIN DEALER
Before the monodrama began, stage director Gregory Keller introduced bass-baritone Dean Elzinga as the Mad King. Roaming through the audience nearly naked in a torn white hospital gown, he pulled on gray boxer shorts and settled into a makeshift throne when he reached the stage, and imaginary asylum defined by a freestanding light grid.
Performing with strong physicality and throat-splitting techniques, the singer poured out the King’s fears and fantasies in excruciating outcries. Playing his vocal cords like a percussion instrument, he howled, moaned, gargled and barked.…Interacting with the violinist, he angrily smashed the player’s instrument. Mourning his own death, he made a regal exit accompanied by a booming bass drum. Sheffer and the musicians were alert to every cue, and the performance made a powerful impression.