Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Review - Flight (New York International Fringe Festival and No Hope Productions)

Review by Byrne Harrison

They say that confession is good for the soul. Clearly, they mean the soul of the person confessing. For the person who has to hear it, however, the confession could be a harrowing experience.

At first, Flight, Tim Aumiller's entry in this year's Fringe Festival, appears to be a harmless little play about two people thrown together by fate. Paula (Brandy Burre) is a woman who is reaching her breaking point. Two relationships tearing at her, stuck at O'Hare Airport due to bad weather, nowhere to sit, she is the epitome of stress. Hank (Todd Lawson) is the opposite. A country accent, comfortable clothes, and a charming smile that says butter wouldn't melt in his mouth, he promises good times and fun.

So naturally, this must be a romantic comedy, and the crowded airport provides the meet-cute where these two opposites can initially repel each another before realizing that they are perfect together, right? Not even close. For though on the surface, this looks like a friendly chat, the charming Hank slowly drops little hints of menace, usually laughing them off immediately. Constantly thrown off balance, Paula is unable to cope as Hank gets more and more intense, finally revealing something that Paula wishes she had never heard.

Both Burre and Lawson are fascinating to watch as their characters slowly morph - Paula from haughtiness and bluster to confusion and fear, Hank from "aw shucks" charm to burning malice. Aumiller's direction keeps the play moving at a good pace, slow enough to reel the audience in, but always interesting. He also manages to build the tension between the two characters naturally, with good ebb and flow. Though the ending of the play is a little ambiguous - I left wondering what happened next to the two characters - I'm sure this was Aumiller's intent. Sometimes nothing will be as satisfying as what the audience is left to imagine.

Written and Directed by Tim Aumiller
Resident Producer: James McNeel
Stage Manager: Audra Roberson
Casting: John Ort
Original Music: Scott Schneider
Costume Designer/Stylist: Deb Burton
Sound Design: Byron Estep
Graphic & Web Design: Robert H├ębert/HCreativ.com

Featuring: Brandy Burre (Paula) and Todd Lawson (Hank)

The Studio at Cherry Lane Theatre
38 Commerce Street

Fri 14 - 7 PM
Tue 18 - 9:30 PM
Wed 19 - 10:30 PM
Thu 20 - 2 PM
Sat 22 - 6:15 PM
Thu 27 - 5:15 PM

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