While Chasing the Fantastic…
Written By Derek Ahonen
Directed by David Levy-Horton
The Amoralists Theatre Company (http://www.myspace.com/138145482)
The Kraine Theatre,
Equity Showcase (closed
Reviewed by Judd Hollander
Playwright Derek Ahonen's takes the subjects of terrorism, trust, infidelity and responsibility and uses them as the building blocks for his fascinating (and quite topical) While Chasing the Fantastic… At its heart the work is a story of three very different individuals whose lives become emotionally and physically intertwined with all the pain, anguish and joy that can bring. Unfortunately, the play fatally stumbles about three-quarters of the way through and never recovers. Which is a real shame, because up to that point the work was fascinating indeed.
Recently married couple
At the same time, a parallel storyline is unfolding,
featuring the two young people in question. They’re a brother and sister who
have adopted the names Charity (Ambrosine
Lara Falck) and Justice (Nick Lawson).
Coming from what appears to be a lower-middle class American family they seem
to have fallen under the spell of a cult-like group not averse to using violent
methods to obtain their goals. (The leader is a figure known as Aqualung,
played with a mesmerizing and sinister air by Barry Sacker). These two stories start to become one when Kent, who
Unfortunately, it's just after this scene the show goes off the rails, with a final half hour or so of rhetoric and dialogue most of which is simply not needed. Also with no explanation, one character is suddenly given a much harder and cynical edge; so much so it no longer seems like the same person. Additionally, the various speeches given by the intended target (Kate Adams) of Charity and Justice could easily be cut as they do nothing to advance the story or plot. An explanation is given for the deliberately stilted dialogue, but it feels like almost an afterthought. (It would have been much better to have her stand in silence and wait for what was to happen then to hear her ramble on about basically nothing.) As a result, the final ending, when it comes, happens with a whimper instead of a loud roar.
Before the show basically collapses, it makes for an
engrossing experience. Pilleci is wonderful as the angry Kent, who slowly
transforms from little more than a tired old stereotype in act one to someone
with pain, passion and pride in himself. So much so that in the climatic face
off between him and Venus, one is not completely sure who to root for. Schall
is excellent as
The segments with Charity and Justice are good in the context of the story, but the characters aren’t nearly as well-defined as they should be, which lessens their emotional impact. Still, their situation is intriguing and more of their back story (at least in terms of Venus' play) would have been nice to see. David Levy Horton's direction is quite strong throughout, with him having a firm grasp of the material, bringing out the best in the cast and the script (despite its missteps).
The sets and costumes in the show (both uncredited in the program) were adequate, as was Keecia Buster's lighting and Bart Lucas's sound design.
Also in the cast is Nick Lawson.
Copyright 2007 Judd Hollander
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