TIGERS BE STILL presented by Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park through April 15. You can read the show description here.
I do want to say up front, that using laughter as an indicator, the audience as a whole, enjoyed the production much more than I did.
Some of you may remember those television commercials that would intone, “Four out of five doctors recommend” such and such a product? Apparently when it comes to theater, I’m that one dissenting voice more often then I care to be.
When I go to see a show, I’m prepared to go along for the ride, but my willing suspension of disbelief does have its limits. The more mine is taxed, the less likely I can hold on to it for the entire show. When the main conceit of the show forces you, against all logic, to accept that there are no other “locations” for the therapy sessions to take place, the play is starting out on extremely shaky ground for me. Adding more conceits, on top of this over the course of the play, strained it even further.
Also problematic was the large number of scenes. There is no breakdown in the program but it seemed to be more than 12 but less than 20. It felt like every time the play started to gain some momentum, we would be handed a tidbit of information that abruptly ended the scene. These bits of information would have had more value if there was some emotional depth in the performances added to the thin script. I don’t find fault with the acting, as I felt the four-person ensemble (Lindsey Kyler as Sherry, Darrin Baker as Joseph, Eric Nelsen as Zack & Joanne Tucker as Grace) were giving exactly what they were directed to do, I just found most of the performances to be emotionally forced at the beginning. It felt like the director (Rob Ruggiero) was more interested in the audience laughing at the extreme antics of the characters than the absurdity of the situations. Laughing at them as caricatures instead of with them as people, if you will.
An example of a missed opportunity was the scene with Joseph and Zack where Joseph was trying to cancel his wife’s magazine subscription. If we would wonderful to have seen more of Zack’s emotional struggle in recognizing his father’s pain but feeling unable to offer any comfort. This would have given his “big reveal” more impact.
Given the space limitations of the theater, the multi-level set was very impressive. I really enjoyed the pre-show music choices, but I did find some of the sound cues during the performance itself a bit on the too loud side.
Overall, I did like where most of the characters ended up, but I didn’t find the journey getting there to be worth the one hour and forty-minute intermission-less wait.
Click here for a complete list of show times, articles and other reviews for TIGERS BE STILL.
I would enjoy hearing what you think about the show or my review. All I ask is that you express your opinion without attacking someone else’s opinion. You can post your comments below.