BWW Review: CIRCUMSTANTIAL HOLIDAYS at The Cat

BWW Review: CIRCUMSTANTIAL HOLIDAYS at The CatIt was our pleasure to be invited to review CIRCUMSTANTIAL HOLIDAYS by local playwright and director Christine Kruze, and we have to say that we came in with a certain amount of skepticism. That was a huge mistake on our part because the production was nothing but fun from start to finish.

Celeste:

The premise is simple: two couples at a New' Year's Eve party who have...interesting dates. The setting is equally simple: an abandoned porch, ideal for avoiding said interesting dates. What ensues is 90 minutes of fast-paced dialogue as the two couples figure out that "interesting" is not necessarily a good qualifier for potentially falling in love.

There are only four actors who carry this play from start to finish, and it must be said they are all quite talented. Since the action hinges almost entirely on the dialogue, the small quirks and "isms" they each added to their characters were essential in making the play come alive.

Of the two couples, I must say that Erin, played by Carrie Ann Schlatter was a real highlight for me. She has arrived with a deplorable date, but her reasons for being on that date will be quite familiar to many a woman. She has been married but is now divorced, no kids, and she really just wanted a holiday season where a mostly acceptable man could be her buffer from all of those questions. What about starting a family? When are you going to settle down? Who are you seeing? She's also been a victim of the online dating world where finding a decent profile that accurately represents the person is a true feat. Schlatter takes the role of Erin and makes it relatable but also unique. She is goofy, sweet, and clever, and her dialogue shows an equal level of desperation and independence.

Erin is accompanied by Alex, an egotistical lawyer played by Joshua C. Ramsey. If his behavior does not have you laughing in disbelief, your sense of humor may be broken. Clay Mabbitt, as Justin, accompanies his friend Troy (Matt Anderson) because of an intriguing deal that all somehow relates to tropical fish. But I don't want to give too much away!

Dylan:

I going to come out and say that a well-executed comedy play is a tough thing to accomplish. With other shows and musicals, you often have other aspects that can back you up like a good set, the music, and choreography. However, for a four-person comedy in a restricted space to succeed, you must be good. For CIRCUMSTANTIAL HOLIDAYS, Director and Writer Christine Kruze knocked it out of the park. With direction that rivals other high-profile venues around Indianapolis, it was apparent with Kruze's second bout of directing that she has maybe found her calling. Often times, directors will miss the mark with parts of their show or botch the comedic timing. This was not the case last night.

As we all know, good direction cannot succeed without stellar acting.

For me, the relationship between Justin (Clay Mabbitt) and Troy (Matt Anderson) was actually very relatable. The show discussed the difficulties of dating in today's society as well as the essential mores expected. It was nice for a show to acknowledge that men do suffer the same anxieties and try the same tricks that women do. Mabbitt and Anderson also had some great moments that reminded me of my friends, and their comedic timing was of a high level. The personal relationship the actors had built with their respective characters was also something of note. They understood in depth what their characters goals were in the show and how to make that obvious to the audience. Credit is also due to the writing which helped them along in their character journey.

CIRCUMSTANTIAL HOLIDAYS is a glimpse into the psyche of many of us as we brave the holiday season and the parties it entails. Do not miss your chance to see this original, local production at The Cat Theatre in Carmel through December 8th.

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