Monday, August 19, 2013

Review: Take a Trip to the Mysterious Peninsula

When you watch a character live a life of struggle and hardship, you hope it ends with a happy ending. But not every story has a happy ending. Tiago’s story certainly didn’t. Peninsula follows Tiago, a Brazilian migrant worker in Michigan, on his journey to escape his past and make a life for himself. On his way, he encounters a privileged eighteen year old Tommy who falls for him and would do just about anything for him in order to get him.
Peninsula, written by Nathan Wright, is carefully constructed through monologues and flashbacks that help share Tiago’s story. Wright’s script is beautifully balanced by smart dialogue and beautiful poetic passages. Director Nadia Foskolou marries the colloquial and the poetic seamlessly, adding some stunning physical work from her actors. With no set to be had, Foskolou requires the audience to imagine the multi-locational world, which she is successful at creating. There is beauty in the simplicity. This was greatly aided by Drew Florida’s lighting.
The ensemble of six is quite strong. While it is Tiago’s story, each supporting character brings ample substance as a catalyst for Tiago’s ending. Josue Gutierrez Guerra as Tiago brings heart to the hopeful Brazilian. Kellan Peavy brings great passion as Tommy, the kid who just wants to be loved. Peavy fights the whiny nature of the text, bringing compassion and determination. Angela Atwood and John Zdrojeski serve as wonderful comic relief to the oft heavy piece. Vanessa Bartlett and Mac Sinoway are strong in the flashbacks to Tiago’s time in Brazil, but it’s Bartlett we wish we saw more of throughout.
Peninsula is not your average Fringe show. It’s actually good. Nathan Wright’s script is engaging, leaving you wanting to know what happens next. If you have a chance to check it out, Peninsula is highly recommended.