The concept underlying the script of Mercutio and Ophelia is that these 2 characters, drawn from two quite different Shakespeare plays, have run away from their destinies and met in a tavern in Rome. He hits on her, she rebuffs him, they parry words for awhile, and gradually fall in love with each other. Clever. Clever, too, is the interweaving of Shakespearean dialogue and lines straight from the young folks in the 21st century pub upstairs from this venue.
According to his website, Tony Molesworth has been doing comedy, including standup comedy, for over 25 years. He’s certainly got a lot of material, and delivers it at a good clip. He plays the banjo, composes little ditties, juggles, and has a CV full of recognizable gigs such as The Magic Castle, Disney World, The Sands and Caesar’s in Atlantic City.
The plot is complex, and although it is a tragedy (with a Hamlet-esque body count) that gets more and more grim with each passing scene, the dialogue, performances, and pacing make it hilarious. There is also the cognitive dissonance: normally we want two young lovers to be united against whatever odds they face; here we are reminded they are brother and sister, and it’s either immoral, unnatural, or just plain icky. One way or another, it’s compelling. Everyone turns in a great performance.
To put it simply, Fallen is fantastically fun. Told as an allegory of the fall of Lucifer, the play takes on the form of a mafia film noir, with a twist. With a large cast, lots of props and fantastic outfits, this production is certain to keep the audience entertained. It is unashamedly over the top, and while it could use a little bit of polishing in some areas, the overall result is a fantastic mix of comedy and song. Yes, there are two musical numbers in this play and they’re a blast. If you have an affinity for Seal or Coolio, it’s worth checking out this show.
I was a little worried when the show opened with circus music, a man with a clown nose and a fat suit, and a strange sequence of umbrellas appearing from his pant legs. However, there were some shining moments in this oddball play about a magician who wants to shed some pounds and find his perfect lady.
The play is at times both funny and heartbreaking, with many challenging scenes, and the Senior Acting Company step up to the plate with passion. This is an amateur company of young actors, and it is delightful to see them up there showcasing their talents, and getting that special tingly thrill that only live theatre can provide. You know the one.
I imagine that with some workshopping this script could be very good. In fact, despite the rough start, the middle of the play did grab my attention. As the siblings reveal their sordid past and the things they lived through, I found myself wanting to find out more. I became much more invested in the back stories of the characters. The premise was almost enough for me to ignore the other flaws in the production. Sadly, this investment is lost in the final moments where the script just goes a little too crazy and has a fairly implausible ending.
So, if you go into this show expecting a theatre performance, you may end up kind of disappointed. As a storyteller, though, Murphy is excellent. And when Kuwaiti Moonshine is viewed as a told story, it is moving, inspiring, and often brilliant. This show is essentially a short story, told and acted by one individual, writer Tim C. Murphy. It contains elements taken from theatre, standup comedy, and (oddly- enough) self-help books, but it is, at its core, a literary/spoken word experience. Which is excellent, really, because the writing is fantastic.
McCullagh states from the outset that this is not a show that has a beginning, middle and end. Instead, it is a series of gags linked together by the momentum that McCullagh himself provides. Yet as an audience member it is difficult not to expect some kind of resolution, some denouement to the show. This is likely the reason that McCullagh included the game show aspect, which pits the performer against the audience and assigns fairly arbitrary points according to how “smart” they are. And this is really the best part of the show. It encourages audience participation beautifully and creates a truly interesting dynamic. Sadly, though, it receives the least attention out of all the parts, and in the end is shown to matter fairly little.
John Collins commands the stage in his role as Ben, the doctor who is heading up the assisted-suicide program. He delivers a heart-stopping monologue early on in the show that left the audience stunned. J.P Chartier and Thea Nikolic are captivating to watch as they fire lines back and forth with expert timing. They bring the struggling marriage of Allison and Patrick to the stage with passion and earnestness, and manage to breathe new life into the difficulties of getting close to another person. Top that off with some flashy audiovisual effects and a great musical score and you’ve got 2020 – a firecracker of a show that is not to be missed!