BWW Review: METEOR SHOWER A PUNNY OPENING OR A NEAR COSMIC UPSET at JOBSITE THEATRE
There's always one...one slight chance of a failed attempt at a good thing. Like the end of a show that has been so climactic up and down, left and right, that binging the entire season in one sitting is a no brainer. Only to find that the ending you have been longing for...the ending you've spent countless hours trying to reach is a mere upset, and for that the entire plight of sitting on the sofa or in the lazy boy connecting with the characters seems like time you'll never get back.
In Jobsite Theatre's recent foray for their 19/20 season opener Meteor Shower seemed like a good thing. Coming from the comedic mastermind Steve Martin and a cast very well known to the Jobsite stage, Meteor Shower was destined to be a stellar/out-of-this world hit for the season opener. However after a swift 75 minutes I was left scratching my head on the walk back to the car.
Norm and Corky have invited Laura and Gerald over for a dinner party and to watch the Meteor Shower. This quickly turned into a night of drinking and sexual innuendos, and eventually leading to each member of the same sex sleeping with one another in a quasi-foursome scenario. Kind of like that moment when you date someone and you realize to yourself that no matter how many people your mate has been with; you've been with all of them to so-to-speak.
Full of witty banter that either was a swing and a miss, or a hysterical gut buster there was things about the show that worked and didn't work. Sometimes it's the script, sometimes it's the direction, sometimes as an audience member you're left asking yourself could this really be a thing that happens.
As far as delving into what worked and didn't work, let's first talk about the acting. Gerald played exceptionally well by Jamie Jones was a standout in this performance. So much so, that Gerald was the one asshole everyone knew was in the room but no one liked. He's the guy at the party that tries too hard to be the center of attention, and to hear him say the word "Pellegrino" was utterly mortifying it was hard to look away. This character was so obnoxious you hated to love him, and loved to hate him. Corky played by Jonelle M. Meyer takes home the award for standout performer. Her highs were high, her lows were low, and in every aspect she embodied the quirkiness of Corky. She's the one girl at the party no one likes in the beginning but could very well be the most normal person in the room and that makes her character endearing and interesting. Norm played by Jordan Foote was enjoyable to watch but his character often seemed like he skimmed off the surface, and the character itself wasn't always memorable...however the scenes with Corky prior to the arrival of the guests were exceptionally played in all of its neurotic, almost obsessive glory. You know the guy in every relationship that wants their better half to breathe, and they feel like no one is listening...will the real Norm in the room please stand up. Finally Laura played by Amy E. Gray was the bad girl everyone wanted and no one could have. She played bad in all the right manners of the word, and I was gripped to her every nuance.
One pitfall to the acting was the break in character every-time they left the stage. Upon their exits I forgot about their characters until they re-entered and spoke again. The love scenes didn't work in the moment, and I was left wondering if it was a directorial choice or a writer choice to have these characters not fully invested in those moments...when they spend the first half of the show discussing swapping intimacies.
Technically speaking the set was beautiful, and lent well to the action on stage. The special effects were a sight to behold and I commend Chris Holcom for the beautiful job. Script-wise this show is a doozy. Unlike last-season's closer Constellations the back and forth and almost forward and reverse in time for this show missed the mark entirely. I was left trying to figure out the sequence which isn't easy to do with a short show.
Steve Martin may have received acclaim with this show on Broadway and with a cast including Laura Benanti and Amy Schumer why would he not? All Tony nods aside, while I commend Jobsite for opening their season with an interesting show, and never failing to take risks where risks are due... but this was no celestial phenomenon. You can catch this spectacle of bizarre relationships as they are turned on their heads nightly in the Shimberg Playhouse through October 6th, and you can get tickets by visiting www.strazcenter.org. With shows such as The Thanksgiving Play, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Doubt: a Parable, The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui, and Animals Out of Paper, Jobsite Theatre, The Straz Center's Premiere Theatre in Residence will surely find their Bright Star, even if Meteor Shower wasn't the high-flying ascent to the cosmos we had been looking for, and for that I look forward to seeing the remainder of Jobsite's 19/20 season with gusto.
Photo Credit: Straz Center