BWW Review: SIGNIFICANT OTHER - Jarrott Productions Marvelous Season Opener

BWW Review: SIGNIFICANT OTHER - Jarrott Productions Marvelous Season Opener

Theatre at its best holds up a mirror to society, showing us our triumphs and failures in equal measure. But once in a great while there comes a production that holds up that mirror and sees into our very soul. SIGNIFICANT OTHER by Joshua Harmon and performed by a stellar cast at Trinity Street Theatre is just such a show.

Smartly written and set at a snappy pace, the show, listed as a comedy/drama, zings along with a quartet of twenty something BFF's starting their lives in the Big Apple. We meet, Kiki (Kelsey Mazak) the superficial beauty who is the first to pull away from the group by getting married. Next there's Vanessa (Natalie Garcia) the edgy, goth who fantasizes her about her own funeral. Then there's Laura (Susan Myburgh) the reserved teacher who is the most afraid of love. Lastly we have Jordan (Will Douglas), the gay man/boy who is the heart and soul of this tight circle of friends but oddly sees himself on the outside. One by one the females pair off with husbands but Jordan, who wants desperately to be loved and to be in love, never seems to mesh with anyone. Harmon's witty dialogue brilliantly shapes the central characters and draws the audience in as a member of the circle. The overall impact of the show sneaks up on you and in the final moments, reaches in, grabs your heart and shakes...hard.

Jarrott Productions has always brought their 'A game' to the Austin theatre scene; since their debut production FREUD'S LAST SESSION in 2015, the company has presented some of the best shows in the area. SIGNIFICANT OTHER marks a milestone in their history, it's the show where David Jarrott himself has taken the helm as director, the result is nothing less than triumphant. Jarrott sets the perfect tone for the material, light with just a hint of undertone. He deftly manages the cast and the space, giving an overall flow to the production that is enchanting. The cast is outstanding, with Sam Howard and Tanner Smith filling out ensemble roles of various husbands and lovers, along with Janelle Buchanan as Jordan's grandmother. All of the female friends, Myburgh, Mazak and Garcia are equally wonderful as they flit, flirt and gossip their way through Jordan's life. But it's Will Douglas as the character whose life swirls at the center of the production who gives a breathtaking performance. He is pitch perfect, keeping things light and the laughter flowing while breaking on the inside. I've watched Douglas' career in Austin theatre for the past several years and I am extremely impressed with his growth as an actor. His performance is worth the ticket price alone, the rest of the brilliant production that fills Trinity Street Theatre is overflowing with love, friendship and emotional upheaval. The lighting design by Mercedes McCleary is lovely with a few surprises. The set designed by Michael Krauss is functionally plain, giving the actors the spotlight as it should be, though the Doctor Who poster did make me smile. I admit it took me awhile to process my own emotions after seeing the play, so deep was its impact.

I give my highest recommendation to SIGNIFICANT OTHER. Go see Jarrott Productions present a stunning show that may just stay with you awhile.

photos by Kathryn Lane Photography

SIGNIFICANT OTHER

By Joshua Harmon

Directed by David Jarrott

Jarrott Productions at Trinity Street Theatre, Trinity Street, Austin, TX

September 6 - 30 at 7:30 PM and 2:00 PM Sunday matinee

Running Time: 2 hours, 15 minutes with one 15 minute intermission

Tickets: $25 - $23, jarrottproductions.com

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From This Author Lynn Beaver

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