Cappies Review: Episcopal Academy’s Radium Girls II



A Radium Girls production


The Cappies is “a writing and awards program that trains high school theatre and journalism students to be expert writers, critical thinkers, and leaders.” The following is a review by Harriton junior, Sam Bailey, on Episcopal Academy‘s production Radium Girls. 


Extra! Extra! Read all about it: Episcopal Academy puts on a radiant production of D.W. Gregory’s Radium Girls, highlighting the inequality that women face in society and the fragility of the men who aim to oppress them.


Radium Girls—a two-act play, frequently performed by high schools nationwide due to its thematic resonance and female-centric cast of characters—tells the story of Grace, a young factory worker in the U.S. Radium Plant, who, like her peers, falls gravely ill due to exposure to the lethal substance. The egotistical, idealistic men in charge refuse to take blame for the atrocities occurring.


Episcopal’s production refused to bore its audience with the sorrowful topic for even a moment. The creatives behind the endeavor utilized certain elements of set and technology to further engage the viewers; headlines of period-accurate newspapers were digitally projected behind the actors, building excellent mise en scene. The school’s tech team should be applauded for this glorious use of automation; after all, distinctly creative appliances like this one helped to create an unmistakable world for these tragic characters to live in, to die in. 


Katie Locke’s Grace began her arc with undeniable ingenue charisma and a contagious smile; her natural charm made the character’s descent into unwellness all the more heart wrenching. Act two, especially, showed off Locke’s unbelievable range, as she sobbed, smiled, and screamed her way through the emotional catalog. Kevin Landaiche’s performance as Arthur Roeder mirrored his costar’s; his shrewd authority spiralled to broken-masculinity in a plumage parallelling Grace’s unforgiving health. 


Amongst the impressive ensemble of talented players, Will Esterhai stood out in his many roles—and many accents; his performance as the Lovesick Cowboy brought tears of laughter to an audience all too familiar with tears. Logan Schlitt, too, shined in her role as Grace’s feeble mate, Kathryn. Her vulnerability onstage was something to be remarked upon. It is not everyday that one comes across a performer so emotive, so powerful.


Episcopal’s tech crew is responsible for an impressively lit production. Their colorful, crisp use of the technology helped to create a show that never faltered or slowed. Annie Lee and Noah Rossin are credited for the play’s immaculate use of sound. Certain ambient effects—such as a reporter’s camera snapping a photo or an intimidating crunch of machinery—can be attributed to Lee’s work at manually capturing necessary noises. The lighting and sound teams’ work on the production has not been forgotten.


Episcopal Academy’s Radium Girls served as an extraordinary showcase for its talented theatre company. The cast, crew and creatives deserve a several-thousand-dollar settlement of their own for all the hard work that was poured into this exceptionally moving production.