Monday, September 8, 2014

Review: I Knew You Were Trouble

Love begins in an assortment ways nowadays. Meet at a bar or meet online or in the new romantic drama Flamingo, meet via a sex study. Flamingo by Alex Trow follows the story of Caroline, a PhD student and her subject turned love interest Andrew as they embark on an emotionally dangerous relationship.
In Flamingo, after an unconventional interview regarding a subject’s relationship to porn, a student and her subject begin a tumultuous relationship as the roles are reversed and love breaks through. As Caroline and Andrew’s relationship builds, we see just how different the two are and the true value of love for the individuals. When Andrew leaves Caroline behind for opportunity, we see just how much the other meant. Despite the typical romantic plotline, Trow’s script is fresh, quick, and intentionally smart. Her characters are incredibly smart, allowing for intellectual exchanges and great debates. For the majority of the play, we see Caroline as lovelorn. When Andrew departs, Caroline stops at nothing to stay in contact. But by the end, Trow decides to turn the standard reunion on its head allowing Caroline to think with her mind and not her heart. One of the more questionable choices Trow makes is the title of the play. For the majority of the play, there is a long wait for when exactly the flamingo metaphor will appear. When it finally appears, while it’s meaning is important to Caroline, it comes so late you wonder if it could have been sprinkled in somewhere sooner.
photo courtesy of Charlie Winter
For the most part, Flamingo follows the story of Caroline and Andrew, with Finn serving as the device. Playwright Alex Trow takes on the central role of Caroline, though Trow is much stronger as the playwright than actor in this piece. Trow portrayed Caroline as monotonous, pathetic and weakly lost. The highly intellectual woman can hold her own in anything except love. When her turn comes in the end, it’s almost too late to care. Trow was outdone by her costars Dylan Lamb and Ian Antal. Dylan Lamb as smooth talking Andrew provided the right amount of infectious seduction. He was so appealing yet appalling there's no wonder why Caroline would spend years pining. Lamb commanded the loveable douchebag with ease. Ian Antal’s Finn was adorkable. His character’s lack of chemistry with Caroline and opposite spectrum of unrequited love was engaging.
Jillian Robertson’s smooth and complete direction was sensational, serving the production to its benefit. Robertson dove head first into Trow’s world, discovering how to make the script unique. The highly functional set by Justin and Christopher Swader served its purpose well. The inclusion of the Venetian blinds allowed for some stunning lighting moments from Charlie Winter. However Winter had some trouble lighting the actors providing many a shadow and lack of light. Emily Auciello's sound design evoked the proper spirit during transitions.
Flamingo is not your average love story. Overall, Flamingo is a strong production. Trow’s voice as a writer is quite captivating, greatly aided by Robertson’s solid direction.