BWW Review: Falling For TO LET GO AND FALL at Theater Latte Da
June is Pride Month, a time for the LGBTQ+ individuals. To Let Go and Fall, currently playing at Theater Latté Da reminds us why pride is important. Set against the landscape of New York City past and present, we follow two queer men, Todd and Arthur, through their relationship. We see them at the ages of 16 (1982), 25 (1991), and 51 (2017), using age to observe how much queer culture has changed through the past forty years; especially in the wake of The Aids Epidemic. To Let Go and Fall is a breathtakingly beautiful, moving play that gives its subject matter its dues.
The first coupling of Todd and Arthur are them at 51-years-old. These two are played by Andre Shoals and Mark Bennington. These two frame the story through narration around a beautiful reflection pool (designed by Maruti Evans). These two actors are burdened with a lot of the emotional tie down with this play, and the two actors rise to the occasion. Andre Shoals portrays a playful spirit and is a lot of fun to watch. And Mark Benningtion plays the "straighter man" (no pun intended) between the two.
The second coupling are the two at 16-years-old. We see how these two met, both being dance students. This is also the beginning of a budding romance between the two men. Todd is played by Austen Fisher, who plays the devilish role with such charisma and charm that you can't help but fall in love with him. Which is what Arthur does here, played by Jon-Micheal Reese, a very serious young man who is serious about his dance. Dance that is choreographed wonderfully by Penelope Freeh and is displayed by two dancers on the back wall. Honestly, something about this couple being naive and sweet, these scenes between these two are my favorite. However, it's this innocence between these two that reflects how the world was treating The Aids Epidemic at the time. With being blissfully innocent and naive to what the epidemic would do.
In the next paring, Todd and Arthur are now 25-years-old and are played by Tyler Micheal King and JuCoby Johnson respectively. This is the pair that will break your heart, without giving too much away. Tyler Micheal King plays Todd with that same devilish energy that his sixteen counterpoint has, but we start to see that slowly fade away. JuCoby Johnson as Arthur is heartwretchly good in this role. Here, we have seen the epidemic take many people and Todd and Arthur have lost so many, but we see a loss of another kind right onstage and is the pivotal plot in the show. Here, we see the direction by Sherri Eden Barber really shine, as she was able to get such raw emotion out of these scenes within this time.
I also much talk about the music in this play, as it's a character in it of itself. The music is composed and played by Michelle Kinney and Jacqueline Ultan; two cellists. The score is sweeping and heartfilled, and matches the play perfectly. I would be happy to just listen to the music by itself (which you can via the albums made of the music).
To Let Go and Fall is the perfect play to watch for Pride Month, as it reminds us why we have this special month. I would recommend this play to anyone.
To Let Go and Fall plays until June 30th at Theater Latté Da.
Photo by Dan Norman