Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Review: The Super Cleanse

Once upon a time there was a tunnel. And in this tunnel lived two girls who made this tunnel their home. Above them on the surface lived a down and out young man ready for a new life. As fate would have it, an epic superstorm brings these people together to look at the value of life. In Ashley Jacobson’s enchanting urban fairy tale, The Tunnel Play, we see these characters come together as outside forces make them deal with internal conflict.
Ashley Jacobson has devised a hauntingly stunning world that is so fantastical yet all too real. The Tunnel Play watches as a series of characters are brought together by happenstance as a superstorm threatens New York City. A storm of this magnitude has never been heard of before and allows Colin, the down and out man, and Priddy and Birdy, the homeless duo, to reexamine their lives through impending doom. Jacobson’s script is accessibly poetic. Her characters have elements of whimsy and mystery, but they also have authenticity. The themes and ideas Jacobson presents are quite interesting. The superstorm represents a cleanse and rebirth for the trio, both physically and metaphorically. What Jacobson does well is she presents her ideas in a subtle manner, allowing the audience to take their own stance.
The ensemble of offered an overall wonderful cohesive performance bringing Jacobson’s characters to life. Ryan Guest as Colin was a knockout, bringing such depth to the disgruntled everyman. Guest’s range was captivating and refreshing. Chelsea Wolocko as simple Priddy was vibrant and spirited with a hopeful demeanor. Her chemistry with Guest was wonderful to watch. Dondrie Burnham as sage Birdy was a great foil for Wolocko’s Birdy, though both Burnham and Wolocko did have some projection issues in their scenes together. Laura Bogdanski and Brett Epstein brought the funny to their nameless ensemble parts with Epstein perhaps bringing a different kind of comedy to the play that was a bit jarring.
Director Courtney Laine Self did an incredible job bringing Jacobson’s world to the stage. With the ingenious aid of Stephen M. Cyr’s set, the mobile and multifunctional world was transformative yet simple. Self’s vision and guidance was wonderful to see portrayed through her company. The costumes by Holly Cain evoked the spectrum of money quite well. Jacob Subotnick’s sound set the mood of the impending storm.
The Tunnel Play is an intriguing and innovative play about loss and solitude. And as fitting as possible, there was a giant storm brewing outside the Kraine Theater as the show concluded. You almost have to wonder if The Dirty Blondes paid mother nature for such a beautiful coincidence.