BWW Reviews: FLYING V FIGHTS: LOVE IS A BATTLEFIELD
Love. Sex. Toxic frustration. Pillow fight weapons that look like something George R. Martin would design for Playskool. These are just a few of the things to be seen in FLYING V FIGHTS: LOVE IS A BATTLEFIELD, currently playing at The Writer's Center in Bethesda.
The show is comprised of eleven different vignettes, each revolving around relationships, arguments and heartbreak. The cast (Theresa Buechler, Danny Cackley, Natalie Cutcher, Rebecca Hausman, Jon Jon Johnson and Robert Bowen Smith) take all of these themes to another level by incorporating fight choreography, kung fu, and even gladiator battles. It's an insane mix, and yet a lot of it really works.
Director Jonathan Ezra Rubin has ensured that audiences get a full experience - that when you walk into not only the house, but the venue itself, you are entering the world of the show. Patrons waiting for the house to open can sit and play Cards Against Humanity and Hungry Hungry Hippos, and the program features a "Love!" and "FIGHT!" sticker game on the back.
The actors are also on stage as soon as you enter the house. As they stretch on the set, a basic series of platforms, cityscapes, and windows, an audio reel plays the cast's thoughts on love and fighting. These audio clips continue throughout the show, as the cast transitions set and props to the next scene.
And there are some amazing scenes. "Fighters Mega Mix", the first scene of the show, is a series of quick musical cues with hilarious interactions attached. "Toxicity" is stunning modern dance. "You've Got a Hold On Me", while it made me slightly concerned for the performers' safety, shows the level of talent each of them has. "Kung Fu Break Up" was beautiful and haunting, and has the potential to resonate with each person who sees it.
However, the overall structure could use some work. While I understand the use of the audio clips as transition, there could be some changes that would make the flow of the show stronger, and allow upcoming scenes to make more sense.
"Gladiator",where the cast fights in an epic battle demonstrating brotherhood and alliances, didn't really fit in relation to the rest of the show. The same went for "Hurt". Audio clips in the latter part of the show were too layered, when they could have featured single lines to illustrate the soon-to-be-performed theme. As it stands now, the two scenes just don't fit. Perhaps if there was a different order, or more related transitions, it would help.
Overall, FLYING V FIGHTS: LOVE IS A BATTLEFIELD is a strong production, and this cast has synced together extremely well. If you want to laugh, see some killer choreography, and leave thinking about how the dyanmics all fit together, see this show. And keep an eye on this company. If this production is any indication, there's a lot of good stuff on the way.
FLYING V FIGHTS: LOVE IS A BATTLEFIELD plays through June 29th at The Writer's Center. Click here to purchase tickets.
Photo credit: Ryan Maxwell Photography