BWW Review: Jennifer Coy Jennings Dazzles in WILD HORSES
Allison Gregory's WILD HORSES is a wickedly funny examination of the heady early teenage years. It is a stunning one woman monologue about the struggle for identity, independence and authenticity. It delves deeply into youth's search to find where and how you fit in a complicated world. Set in the 70's, the play is about one summer that forever alters an adolescent girl, as related by her grown-up self. This is related as a complex bar story and yet is essentially timeless. WILD HORSES is a coming-of-age story for all genders and generations. This production is the 72nd Rolling World Premiere of the National New Play Network, an alliance of nonprofit theaters that champions the development, production, and continued life of new plays. WILD HORSES has already been produced in West Virginia and New York and will finish in New Jersey after the Austin production.
What is remarkable about Allison Gregory's riveting tale is the universality of the story. Everyone goes through the confusing and conflicting experience of the beginning of our teenage years. Everyone remembers vividly a life changing event from that period of human existence. Gregory's tale is rich in detail and beautifully realized by Jennifer Coy Jennings' remarkable performance. Jennings is absolutely stunning in how present and exposed she is. She tells the story with a natural and sharp sense of comedic timing. Her tour de force performance will draw you in and have you on the edge of your seat.
Directed by Rudy Ramirez, he continues to add to his string of remarkable pieces of theatre. Ramirez has a clear skill for bringing remarkable performances out of actors. He also keeps what could be a very static show moving and fascinating. Ann Marie Gordon's scenic design uses the tiny Pony Shed off the Vortex courtyard to turn it into a nondescript bar locale. Patrick Anthony lights the proceedings with a simple yet effective lighting design. The remarkable technical achievement in WILD HORSES is Valerie Johnson's sound design. Using snippets of practically every hit and iconic song of the seventies, her sound design beautifully underscores and supports Gregory's memory play and manages to use the music to blend the memories of the character with those memories the audience has connected to these iconic songs. The sound design becomes a soundtrack of our conjoined lives and functions as much of a character as the storyteller.
WILD HORSES is a brilliantly constructed and highly engaging tale being given a tour de force performance by Jennifer Coy Jennings. I give it my highest recommendation. Don't miss this show. People will be talking about this uplifting, touching and extremely human tale.
WILD HORSES by Allison Gregory
Running Time: 90 minutes, no intermission
WILD HORSES, produced by The Vortex in The Pony Shed in the Courtyard (2307 Manor Road, Austin, TX, 78722).
Thursdays-Sundays, November 16 - December 09, 2017 @ 8:30 pm. No show Thanksgiving Day.
Live-Streaming Friday, December 1 @ 8:30 pm CST howlround.com/tv
ASL-Interpreted Saturday, December 2, 8:30 pm (Free to deaf and hard-of-hearing audiences)
"Industry Night" Wednesday, November 29, 8:30pm
Tickets: $35-$15. www.vortexrep.org or 512-478-5282.
$35 Priority Seating, $25 General Admission, $15 Discount/Child/Artist/Student/Senior/Veteran
Advanced Reservations Highly Recommended. Extremely limited seating.