Review: RESCUE ME Debuts at B Street Theatre

Afloat Until February 18th

By: Jan. 26, 2024
Review: RESCUE ME Debuts at B Street Theatre

Championing new works can be a risky undertaking, but B St. Theatre’s dedication to the cause continues to pay off. Kicking off the 2024 season is Rescue Me, a finalist in the 2022 B Street New Comedies Festival.  It is penned by two B Street fixtures, Tara Sissom-Pittaro and Peter Story, who infuse humor with introspection into two outwardly opposite individuals.

Rescue Me’s first hook is its setting. Who doesn’t think about their plane crashing in the middle of the ocean, a la Malaysia Airlines Flight 370? Well, Emory (Caroline Kinsolving) and Cliff (Peter Story) certainly don’t until their flight goes down somewhere between Florida and Cuba. What begins as a small group of survivors dwindles to two, as Cliff throws the last of their companions, now deceased, off the airplane wing they are using as a boat. Emory is horrified that Cliff can so casually dump Gary overboard, to which he responds matter-of-factly, “He was starting to smell.” These snippets of humor are scattered throughout the piece, bringing lighthearted laughs in response to Emory’s crusty armor and Cliff’s nervous insecurity. Cliff’s guilt-inducing God and Emory’s beneficent-grandpa-sweater-wearing-computer-geek-God (Dave Pierini) make periodic appearances to poke fun at religion, impart vague advice, and generally act as comic relief. As the play gets into some heavy material and we get to know Emory and Cliff as genuine, flawed human beings, we begin to understand that they are exactly where they need to be to learn the lessons they need to learn. For Emory, that’s grace and humility. Cliff needs to part with his Catholic guilt and recognize his worth. It normally doesn’t take such extreme conditions for most of us to glean these tidbits of wisdom, but that wouldn’t make such a good story.

As always, Peter Story and Dave Pierini take up a lot of positive space on the stage. Powerful, poised, and thoroughly entertaining, the promise of their repartee makes the audience squeal in anticipation every time they see God appear in…the airplane cave doors? Mount Sinai in the Atlantic? Either way, it’s thrilling. Caroline Kinsolving, a newcomer to B Street, brings an impressive depth to her character. Emory is the woman we love to hate. Ambitious and adulterous, Kinsolving’s Emory is brash and unyielding…until she isn’t. Rescue Me may be billed as a comedy, but it’s also a beautiful celebration of perseverance, friendship, and learning that doesn’t need any saving.

PC: Rudy Meyers