Jennifer Roehm as Tilly in MELANCHOLY PLAY: A CONTEMPORARY FARCE by Sarah Ruhl. Photo by Mikki Schaffner.

MELANCHOLY PLAY: A CONTEMPORARY FARCE  by Sarah Ruhl from Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati as part of the 2011 Cincinnati Fringe Festival. You can read the show description here.

Many times for me, seeing a Sarah Ruhl play is akin to jumping down the rabbit hole. A script of off-beat characters in increasingly strange situations with sudden and multiple left turns in logic.

What it takes to keep this crazy train on the track is a strong director. Thankfully Regina Pugh is behind the wheel (yes I’m mixing my metaphors), leading the talented Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati Acting Intern Company through their farewell performance and their final experience as ETC interns.

Pugh makes great use of the various levels and play areas provided by the 25 THE MUSICAL set. From the ensemble she elicits focused, humorous and believable performances, no matter how outrageous the situations become within the play. Jennifer Roehm is charming and cute as Tilly in both emotional extremes. William Selnick is appropriately over-the-top as R-rolling Lorenzo the Unfeeling.

Proud “parent” Shannon Rae Lutz finds some inspired props, several of which bring laughter with their entrances. My personal favorite is an appropriately blue cello played beautifully by CCM freshman Randy Nashleanas, to underscore the performance.

For me, near the end of the play, Ruhl takes the story a bit too far down the rabbit hole, and loses me.

Only two performances remain of MELANCHOLY PLAY at Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati :

  • Sun, June 5 at 2pm
  • Sun, June 5 at 7pm

Links to all reviews can be found on the BTC REVIEWS page. Blog postings, links to other media reviews and more are available on my FaceBook fan page or you can receive updates on Twitter from @BTCincyRob.


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Filed under Cincy Fringe Festival, Reviews

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