BWW Review: BOOM at Out Of Pocket Inc.
"Ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny." Who would have thought Ernest Haeckel's famous and scientifically nerdy maxim would be central to the theme of one of the most performed plays of the early 21st century? But Peter Sinn Nachtrieb's BOOM embraces that theme and explodes it to cataclysmic comic proportions. BOOM is a combination of bedroom farce and locked door mystery. It is ironically a retrospective about "the end of the world as we know it" (to quote R.E.M.), satirizing science, relationships and the blasé despondency of millennials.
Jules is a marine biologist who predicts through his study of the spawning patterns of fish in the coral reef that a comet will hit the earth and destroy 90% of all life. In order to save himself and more importantly the human race, he hunkers down in a bomb shelter/lab hoping to create a post-apocalyptic, scientific Eden. He only needs an Eve to complete the process. Enter Jo, a journalism student, responding to Jules' online ad for "sex to change the course of the world." Jo comes seeking "random sex as the last glimmer of hope in a decaying society." However, Jo's desire for a one-night stand ends when Jules electronically seals the bomb shelter both trapping her and saving her from ultimate disaster. What ensues is a comedy full of physical humor, clever twists and philosophic repartee. Controlling the action is Barbara a docent/narrator through whom we know that the story is a museum reenactment, indicating that the world will be saved... but how?
Kudos to Out of Pocket Inc. for choosing this intellectually stimulating, quirky and challenging play. The small cast delivers the play's intention admirably. It is no small task to sustain a character and engage an audience without intermission for 105 minutes. Lauren MacDonough and Skylar Shaw as Jo and Jules respectively play their roles with energy and passion. Their performances are thoughtful and clear. Though they perhaps belabor certain lines causing the show to run somewhat longer than it should, the show's humor and intent ring true. Barbara Lobb's naturalness and eccentricity create an endearingly spirited docent, Barbara. Her performance highlights the play's climax excellently. Stephanie Roosa's direction focuses on character relationship but lacks the physicality required to deliver the play to its farcical heights. A hindering aspect to this production is the set design that places all furniture and set pieces upstage, restricting the blocking and minimizing opportunities for slapstick and pointed focus. However, the strength of the script and the energy of the acting convey the theme and provide a very entertaining night of theatre.
Peter Sinn Nachrieb's play, BOOM, is both thought provoking and zany. The characters' excessive passions drive their desperate lives, evoking from the audience dark and cynical laughter. Thematically this play leaves us pondering our existence and our relationship to the universe long after we exit the theatre. This BOOM delights, irreverently poking fun at our inherent frailty and folly.
For more information on Out of Pocket Inc.'s production of BOOM and how to purchase tickets for the October 31st to November 2nd shows, click here.