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Review: A SMALL FIRE at Shotgun Players

Adam Bock's fifth production at Shotgun Players involves a poignant story of a powerful woman losing control and the effects on her immediate family.

Review: A SMALL FIRE at Shotgun Players

A Small Fire

Written by Adam Bock

Directed by Mary Ann Rodgers

Shotgun Players

Adam Bock's fifth production at Shotgun Players involves a poignant story of a powerful woman losing control and the effects on her immediate family. Its tough stuff and will appeal to almost every audience member. Notwithstanding a stellar performance by Desiree Rogers, the play as presented here is so slowly paced, with too many scene changes, that is loses its emotional punches.

Emily (Rogers) is a take charge woman, running her construction company with confidence. She gives orders to her coworker and protégé Billy (Nick Trengove) and maintains a close friendship. Similarly, Emily runs her family as well, nurturing husband John (Dixon Phillips) and soon to be married daughter Jenny (Leigh Rondon-Davis). The Bridges family has tensions inherent in this dynamic. John is ok staying home making coffee and tending to Emily's needs. Jenny is angry over her mother's dismissal of her fiancée.

Review: A SMALL FIRE at Shotgun Players
Emily (Desiree Rogers) and Billy (Nick Tengove)

When an unknown illness strikes Emily with a lack of taste and smell her family members step in assist. Blindness is the next side effect with its startling isolation. Rogers turns in a wonderfully expressive and understated performance here, trying to maintain her composure while understanding the ramifications of her condition. Anyone with a beating heart can empathize with her and may recognize the care-taker in us displayed in fine performances by Dixon and Rondon-Davis. Nick Tengrove provides some needed comic relief as a pigeon raising butch gay.

Review: A SMALL FIRE at Shotgun Players
Leigh Rondon-Davis as Jenny and Desiree Rogers as Emily.

Bock's script is leisurely at best, with few large dramatic moments. There is a great scene at Jenny's wedding where Emily flies into a rage-filled dance. But it does seem like a made for TV melodrama guaranteed to elicit a tear or two. The finale is worth the wait, as we become voyeurs to Emily and John's commitment to love and life given their new and challenging circumstances.

A Small Fire runs through June 12, 2022. Tickets: $28 - $40 General Admission; May 14 - May 20: Pay What You Can $0-$40; May 26 M.A.D. Night for 25 & Under: $7; Live streaming March 17 & March 24: $20 or available at https://shotgunplayers.org/online/article/small-fire

Photo Credits: Ben Krantz



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