BWW Review: Lovers Reunite in Strawberry Theatre Workshop's THE PAVILION
On the surface, Craig Wright's "The Pavilion", currently being offered from Strawberry Theatre Workshop, doesn't have all that much going for it. It's not a particularly enticing or thought provoking subject, a couple reconnecting at a reunion. But what it does have going for it is a cast of three performers, throwing their considerable talents into the roles, and that's what engages about this show more than anything.
It's been 20 years since Kari and Peter (Allison Standley and Quinlan Corbett) have seen each other when, at the end of these High School sweethearts' senior year Peter just up and left small town Pine City, MN for bigger things. So, while Kari stayed behind and built a life, Peter abandoned her for a life beyond. But now it's the 20 year reunion and Peter has returned hoping to explain himself and prove his love for Kari.
This tale of hopeful redemption has some sharp and humorous writing and certainly engages with its dialog. But it also wraps itself in a framework of explaining the nature of time and how it cannot be rewritten. And while interesting (mostly due to the fact that it's relayed by the incredible Rob Burgess as the narrator of the piece), it doesn't do much to further the message of the show. Aside from one moment where they circle back around to this investigation of time, the whole thing feels superfluous.
In fact, the main thing that saves this show from utter mediocrity, is the fact that director Greg Carter keeps the pacing alive and has assembled a top notch ensemble to tell it. Standley and Corbett have palpable chemistry together, conveying beautifully the tension of the situation laying between them. Corbett brings in a sorrowful ache to Peter as he desperately tries to explain himself to a woman he hurt. And Standley shows off an immense strength to her character even as she relents to the man in front of her. And I must mention Burgess who not only expertly takes us through this journey but also fills out the rest of the graduating class of 1999 with tons of humor and heart.
On the whole, it's a sweet little story of love and betrayal with some decent dialog and a superb cast. The show doesn't offend or drag but it's also not one that will stay with me as so many of Strawberry Theatre Workshop's previous shows have done. It just happened. And so, with my three-letter rating system, I give Strawberry Theatre Workshop's production of "The Pavilion" a contented MEH+. I know not every show can be a stunner. Some shows, such as "The Pavilion", are simply a pleasant diversion for the night.
"The Pavilion" from Strawberry Theatre Workshop performs at 12th Ave Arts through November 9th. For tickets or information visit them online at www.strawshop.org.