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Red Light Winter


"The final and most surprising of the characters is the Christina, the French prostitute played by Ellen Adair. From her start as an overtly sexual and exotic woman to her heartbreaking, vulnerable end, Adair absolutely shines.  Captivating from start to finish, Adair’s Christina defies all expectations. ...the Kitchen’s interpretation is ultimately an extraordinary display of first-class theatre.  From the very start, Red Light Winter captures the audience, and doesn’t let us go until its final dramatic conclusion. ­­"
-Gina Cargas, Cornell Daily Sun

"Christina (Ellen Adair), beautiful and (apparently) French and exquisitely seductive, is a prostitute whom Davis has purchased -- and whose favors he's already tasted -- in the city's red light district. …Matt's timidity, Davis's masculine swagger, Christina's silky charisma -- all drive the story, which picks up, a year later, in Matt's tiny New York apartment, where Christina shows up again, broken and ill, looking for Davis. ...Christina’s haunting song [is] a spellbinding moment of poignant beauty and utter fragility.

…the emotional tensions (and theatrical risks, such as the full nudity) are exceptionally well-handled. But the great richness of this production is the way these three accomplished Equity actors inhabit their characters. They're all fascinating to watch -- Bush's brittle braggadocio effectively shadowing any soul that lurks within; Gilde's complex intellectualism wrapping them all in his endless words, both clarifying and obfuscating; and Adair's complicated, almost magical sophistication shifting to something terrifyingly needy and familiar. ...these performances are admirable, nuanced and even courageous. ."
- Barbara Adams, Ithaca Journal

"Ellen Adair... tenders a plaintive, romantic torch song of unrequited love in her best French chanteuse fashion. A figure of awkward glamour in a svelte red dress, she is truly beguiling...Adair’s Christina is a stiletto-delicate portrait of a young woman who will adopt whatever personality works at the moment.., These sudden shifts in presentation (“who is she now?”) are deliciously showy, and Adair traverses them with a light but firm touch. Yet Christina (like all operatic courtesans) is headed for tragedy. Adair is almost frightening in the absolutely shattered moments she arrives at, wrung out and past repair. ...soaring, searing performances by Adair, Bush and Gilde."
–Ross Haarstad, Tompkins Weekly

"Adam Rapp’s play reunites actors Eric Gilde and Ellen Adair who were last seen in the fantastical romance Mary’s Wedding. And while that love story plumbed the depth of war’s devastation and loss without feeling fatalistic, Red Light Winter demonstrates the virtuosity of the two actors’ mastery of desolate material. That early 20th century overseas conflict was nothing compared to this contemporary work, which depicts the self-imposed internal conflicts of the over-educated and otherwise privileged Echo Boomers.

...Like Shame, Steve McQueen’s recent paean on film to self-abnegation, when Rapp’s characters resort to song they are on the brink. And Adair’s beats Carey Mulligan hands down: graceful, ultimately humane — like the play itself, it loves love — and longs for yours."
- Luke Z. Fenchel, Ithaca Times

"Christina is reserved, but vaguely flirtatious. Adair employs a seductive, convincing French accent. Her alluring nature is especially showcased as she sings to the boys wearing a low-cut, long and flowing red dress, When she reappears in the second act back in the United States, Adair drops the accent for a beautifully full Mid-Atlantic voice. Her tense air and diminutive motions exhibit Christina’s emotional fragility and weakness."
– Lucy Walker, The Ithacan


Ellen Adair as Christina

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