BWW Reviews: SPT's SLOWGIRL Examines Consequences; Lacks Growth
Character studies of two disparate people thrown together are all well and good. The conflict between the two can amount for high drama and/or comedy gold. And the characters in Seattle Public Theatre's current production of "Slowgirl" are quite different from each other. But for that conflict to amount to something, one or both of the characters needs to grow or discover something about themselves otherwise you're left with a great big "And ...?" And unfortunately in "Slowgirl" I didn't really see much of a change by the end leaving me somewhat interested in them but less than satisfied.
Greg Pierce's play has its moments as Sterling (Kevin McKeon) takes in his 17 year old niece Becky (Hannah Mootz) into his home in the middle of the jungles of Costa Rica. The talkative and outgoing Becky has become involved in a prank at school that lead to the serious injury of a mentally disabled classmate and so her parents send her to stay with the quiet and contemplative Sterling for a few days to get her away from the situation. But Sterling has his own past troubles involving his previous life as a lawyer caught up in a financial scandal. The two become increasingly closer with each other over the days and more and more expressive until finally all the truth comes out and they learn ... well, that's the problem.
I didn't really get much of a satisfying ending. I don't want to give it all away but suffice to say that I just didn't feel any difference between Becky and Sterling at the top of the play and Becky and Sterling at the end. Sure the two of them were closer and knew more about each other but that was about it.
McKeon and Mootz have some wonderful moments in the piece and do well with the characters for the most part. The always amazing McKeon kept much of his character quite close to the vest and internalized while still conveying some complex layers of this man retreating from the world. And Mootz has a very powerful moment at the end that practically shook the walls of the theater emotionally but during the rest of the play was a bit one note and felt like a stereotype of an annoying teenager.
Ultimately the show was engaging enough but fell flat and left me little to take away. And so with my three letter rating system I give "Slowgirl" a simple MEH+. Some interesting performances but if you're going to tell a story that's rife with that many hot button details then go somewhere with it.
"Slowgirl" performs at Seattle Public Theatre through April 12th. For tickets or information contact the Seattle Public Theatre box office at 206-524-1300 or visit them online at www.seattlepublictheatre.org.