BWW Review: An Involving FOREVER BOUND Rivets You to the Edge of Your Seat
FOREVER BOUND/by Steve Apostolina/directed by Ann Hearn Tobolowsky/Atwater Village Theatre/thru June 16, 2018
The world premiere of playwright Steve Apostolina's FOREVER BOUND artfully produces scores of suspenseful "will he/won't he" moments performed by the talented cast of four. What starts out as a day in the life of a depressed book scout about to be evicted takes welcomed twists and turns to its very satisfying end. Director Ann Hearn Tobolowsky keeps a firm hand in guiding this intermission-less piece smoothly and efficiently to its conclusion.
Entering the Atwater Village stage, scenic designer Pete Hickok's realistic set of book scout Edmund's apartment living room immediately telegraphs the sorry state of hi's current situation. Milk crates as a coffee table base; cheap, old bookcases; various cardboard storage boxes scattered about. A framed superhero print and comic book covers on the walls being the only decorative elements in sight, unless you count the scotch-taped, live cockroaches on the walls.
French Stewart deftly inhabits the sad sack, self-pitying, shut-in Edmund. His opening scene has his friend (maybe, his only friend) Shep arriving with moral and edible support. Stewart generously allows Steve Apostolina as Shep to steal all their opening scenes together as Apostolina imbues Shep with such energy, enthusiasm and wit in his cheerleading attempts to boost up Edmund's spirits. But Stewart dexteriously regains his spotlight as Edmund's conscience, confidence and purpose come to the foreground.
Apostolina, using his book scouting background, has written such an involving, intriguing piece full of surprises, not much can be said without giving away major spoilers. What can be said - Apostolina's script's filled with intelligent, logical, scarily-realistic events with the right amount of comic lines thrown in for levity.
In a separate setting, a tutor (played with much gravitas by Rob Nagle) drills his student (a very sensitive Emily Goss) on the interpretations of various classic literature. Both their relationships with Edmund and Shep would be spoiler alerts. Enough to say that Nagle's most convincing in his explanations for his actions and in his declarations of love. Goss adeptly navigates the growth in her character's deposition from Stepford Wives catatonia to re-claimed defiance.
A very nice touch included at the curtain call.
Look to be BOUND in your involvement in Apostolina's enthralling, significant tale of the various degrees of right and wrong.