Review: THE F. MARRYKILL AFFAIR at New Generation Theatrical

A fantastically funny, interactive romp that is sure to entertain

By: Feb. 17, 2024
Review: THE F. MARRYKILL AFFAIR at New Generation Theatrical
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Review: THE F. MARRYKILL AFFAIR at New Generation Theatrical What do you get when you cross a regency era tale of a high society engagement, mix it with a bawdy farce and add a dash of murder? You get THE F. MARRYKILL AFFAIR the latest immersive offering by New Generation Theatrical which plays at the Abbey in Orlando through Monday, February 19th. Written and Directed by New Gen’s Creative Director, Michael Knight (who also plays Chaudry Gethard, the narrator of the tale), THE F. MARRYKILL AFFAIR is a frolicsome “interactive, hilarious engagement party to die for”, which makes for a fun, exciting and all-around entertaining evening of theatre. 

Review: THE F. MARRYKILL AFFAIR at New Generation Theatrical The title, THE F. MARRYKILL AFFAIR gives away a bit of the plot in its play on the party game where three people are named – celebrities, friends, etc. and the player must decide which to Marry, which to Kill and which to.. well, you get the gist. In New Gen’s production, we meet the entire Marrykill clan, patriarch Francis (Patrick Kramer) his French second wife Victoire (Vanessa Sotomayor), their daughter Fiona (Julia Thompson), Fiona’s fiancé, Sir Thackery Porpton (Gregg Baker Jr.) and Francis’ daughter from his first wife, Fern (usually played by Lauren Muller but portrayed by Carly Clark on the evening I attended). Enter the mysterious Chaudry Gethard (Michael Knight) who just that day saved Francis from the certain doom of a runaway carriage, but whose acquaintance many of those gathered for Fiona and Thackery’s engagement party have already made. Chaudry, you see, is a male prostitute who counts both the “innocent” Fiona and her mother, the sultry, French Victoire as his clients. As expected, these secrets don’t stay hidden for long, leading to a hilarious climax and an opportunity for the audience to decide the ultimate fate of the characters through a game of, yes you guessed it, F, Marry, Kill (providing a different ending each night, depending on how the audience votes).  

Review: THE F. MARRYKILL AFFAIR at New Generation Theatrical THE F. MARRYKILL AFFAIR is an original work that uses the presence of the audience as an element to move the plot forward. The full audience play the part of guests at the engagement party, but a select few get the chance to join in the action, serving drinks to some of the characters and helping narrator, Chaudry, move the plot along. Michael Knight’s script is fast paced and quite funny. He has written some of the best lines for his own character, Chaudry, often delivered as a fourth wall breaking dialogue, but all the actors get to benefit from Mr. Knight’s witty script. His direction is quick and effective and the evening includes two 10-minute intermissions which allow the audience to get more drinks from the bar. I forgot to mention, cost of admission includes a drink ticket and a bottle of wine for the table (shared with three other attendees). Due to the comedic (and interactive) nature of the plot, the drinks certainly help get the audience comfortable enough to play (and laugh) along.

Review: THE F. MARRYKILL AFFAIR at New Generation Theatrical The actors playing the fated Marrykill family and their guests each deliver solid performances, fully embodying their characters and playing up the comedic elements of their situations. As proud, but a bit daft, Francis, Patrick Kramer conveys as stalwart father figure who is oblivious to some of the goings on around him. As his seductive, stereotypically French wife, Victoire, Vanessa Sotomayor embodies the role well – flitting (and flirting) around the stage. Julia Thompson gives a great performance as Fiona, who at times plays very stupid (to hilarious effect) and at others cunning and calculating. As Thackery Porpton, Gregg Baker Jr. is brash, bold and over the top (in a good way) and as Fern, the shunned and mistreated older sister, Carly Clark was fantastic – poised but with a biting wit and a dry sense of humor (though far from dry in terms of alcohol consumption). Finally, As Chaudry (and key cog in the “affair” part of the story) Michael Knight is frenetic and fantastic.

The creative elements of THE F. MARRYKILL AFFAIR are simple but effective. Isaac Bannasch’s set design provides the perfect atmosphere for the regency setting, Toni Chandler’s costumes (as seamstress) shine. Michael Knight’s designs for sound, lighting and props, coupled with his skilled direction and great performance really illustrate how THE F. MARRYKILL AFFAIR is a true labor of love for him.

Overall, THE F. MARRYKILL AFFAIR is something unique compared to some of the typical theatrical offerings here in the City Beautiful. It is fresh, new, interactive, locally conceived and created, different every night and just plain fun. When you add in the drinks and the festive (and fun) atmosphere, I can’t think of a better way to spend an evening than joining the Marrykill family as they celebrate this fated engagement and witnessing the hilarity that ensues.

 

THE F. MARRYKILL AFFAIR by New Generation Theatrical runs at The Abbey at 100 S. Eola Drive, Orlando, FL 32801 through February 19. Tickets can be purchased by visiting newgentheatrical.org.

Photos by Isaac Bannasch, courtesy of New Generation Theatrical

Header Photo: Patrick Kramer, Julia Thompson and Vanessa Sotomayor
Top Photo: Gregg Baker Jr. and Patrick Kramer
Mid Photo 1: Vanessa Sotomayor and Michael Knight
Mid Photo 2: Gregg Baker Jr. and Julia Thompson
Bottom Photo: Lauren Muller and Michael Knight




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