BWW Reviews: NICE THINGS Very Nice!
Nice Things/by Vince Melocchi/directed by Elina de Santos/Rogue Machine (in Theatre/Theater)/thru November 23, 2014
The world premiere of Vince Melocchi's Nice Things receives a solid mounting with all creative elements perfectly in place. A strong, nicely-matched cast of four playing well opposite, and with, each other; firmly directed at a steady clip by Elina de Santos; and presented with top-notch production elements make Nice Things a very nice 85 minutes of entertainment.
Nice Things begins with the first encounter of Justin and Amy at the funeral of Afghanistan vet Danny, the old school chum of Justin and the fiancée of Amy. Justin has long left their home town of Dunsmore, PA for a reporting career at a radio station. Amy had big plans for her future with Danny while working her shifts at the local donut shop.
Amy's need to blame someone, anyone for Danny's death, has her lashing out at military recruiter Staff Sergeant Bobbi Jo Gunning. Amy elicits Justin's help in trapping Gunning in her seemingly lying methods of recruiting. Gunning had promised Danny would never be sent to Afghanistan.
Although Gunning refuses to help Amy in collecting Danny's death benefits, Gunning feels somewhat at fault or responsible for this particular recruit. Gunning's rationalization for her culpability finally gets revealed to her lover Sandy in a post-abuse apology.
Actual reasons for Amy's plotting and Gunning's guilty responsibilities and physical abuse get satisfactorily explained by curtain.
This talented, convincing cast consist of Michael Hanson as upright, wanna- do-right Justin; Conner Kelly-Eiding as the grieving, blaming-everyone-but-herself Amy; Rebekah Tripp as the rigid, traumatized Gunning; and Melanie Lyons as Gunning's loving, but battered girlfriend Sandy.
Props to scenic designer Stephanie Kerley Schwartz and video designer Nicholas Santiago for facilitating the smooth scene transitions with their combination of efficient, effective moveable panels on sliders with various video projections on each to depict the various set locations (recruitment office, mall hallways, doughnut shop, funeral home, respective dwellings of Gunning and Amy).
A last pro and con -
Pro: The instant black eye make-up application by Lyons after Tripp hits her. Nice!
Con: the cuffs of Hanson's ill-fitting dress shirt hanging/dragging out of his suit sleeves. Why?