BWW Reviews: ALMOST, MAINE Will Charm Your Thermal Socks Off.
"You're in unorganized territory . . .It's not an actual town, technically . . . .See, to be in a town you gotta get organized . . . ."
The New York Post aptly described "Almost, Maine" as "The Twilight Zone meets Thornton Wilder." These nine charming vignettes by John Cariani (a native of Presque Isle, Maine) capture the otherwordly glow of love beneath the shimmering northern lights.
In this sweet, highly conceptual work, romantic impulses play hide and seek and figures of speech become literal.
Played like the little bear's porridge--just right--for the black box venue, this show kept me invested in each moment wondering what would happen next. Eight actors transitioned through nineteen earnest characters, amid strains of folk guitar and harmonica. Each idyosyncratic scene a "thrills and spills" toboggan ride of magical realism skirting the edge of farce.
Buoyed by hope, yet burdened by curious emotional baggage, these off-kilter couples intersect at that pivotal moment when love makes everything seem brighter and more intense. Confounding. Fascinating. Absurd. Simple. Revealing . . . and perfectly sensible to anyone who is in love . . . has ever been . . . or wishes they were.
Costumes (Patrice Trower), lighting (Nicholas Swanson) and minimalistic set (Jackie Nichols)--complete with falling snow--made me believe there was a chill in the air. Director Ken Zimmerman worked wonderful nuances into this ensemble piece and his blocking was superb: purposeful movement that kept the show vital without ever diluting its focus.
Performances are solid across the board. This cast features Playhouse on the Square Company Member Morgan Howard (Reefer Madness) with Joshua Quinn, John Maness (Clybourne Park) and Sterling Church. Melissa Moore, Sarah Pierce, Evan McCarley, and Avie Vaughan make their Circuit Playhouse, Incorporated debuts. Whether you're an avid theatre goer or someone who only makes it to one or two shows a season, you're sure to enjoy this funny, tasteful production.
Dates: January 3 - January 26, 2014 Times: Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 8pm, Sundays at 2pm
Photo Credit: Evan McCarley and Morgan Howard