Rachel Mock as Florence & Nick Tsangaris as Herbert. Photo by Mikki Schaffner.

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

LOVE KNOTS presented by Essex Theatre Arts Studio as part of the 2012 Cincinnati Fringe Festival. You can read the show description here.

LOVE KNOTS is my first exposure to the ten-minute play format. This ambitious collection of five works by playwright Phillip Paradis aims high but doesn’t quite come together.

In “Whistle Stop Romance,” there isn’t much drama to be found when a formerly engaged couple meet for the first time after five years. And the play’s late ’20s setting didn’t add anything significant to the play. In a ten-minute play, I would think word choice would be a big consideration, but I heard much needless repetition in the script.

Barbara Manning as Mrs. Sarah Goldstein & Paul Eisenmann as Moise Schoenberg. Photo by Mikki Schaffner.

Repetition also derails “The Holy Swiss Duet.” The character of Mrs. Sarah Goldstein repeats “holes” and other phrases so often she seems doddered. For me, the play was about a deli owner dealing with the crazy customer who comes in to complain everyday. Not sure how the love theme ties in.

“The Next Table” is my least liked entry. I think eight characters in a ten-minute play is overly-ambitious. But it was the stereotypical gay couple that caused me to immediately lose any interest I had in the story.

I thought the main characters of Travis and Krystal had some potential in “Happy Family at Lui’s Golden Dragon.” The script, however, made them come across as “typical red-necks” and not real people.

Anne Wrider as Dolly Brady & Tom Manning as Seamus O’Malley in “Sunny Side Up.” Photo by Mikki Schaffner.

The finale play, “Sunny Side Up” is the strongest of the five. While cute and charming, the story doesn’t distinguish itself from similar scenes in other works.

In watching the plays, I felt that the characters, the setting and the story hook were dots that weren’t well-connected, and when they were connected it was the path of least resistance. I just wanted a stronger story arc that says something new or takes a new approach to common themes.

I also didn’t get a good sense of collaboration between acting, directing and writing. Performances generally were good and the directing solid, but the words seemed to take dominance over other choices.

Click here for a complete list of show times, local media coverage and other reviews for LOVE KNOTS.

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.


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