IN WHICH I SET MYSELF ON FIRE Review

Photo by Mikki Schaffner.

Simon Powell as Roman, Carey Parsons as Rita & Blair Bowman as Chris. Photo by Mikki Schaffner.

IN WHICH I SET MYSELF ON FIRE presented by Cincinnati Group Theatre as part of the 2013 Cincinnati Fringe Festival. Click here for the show description, a list of show times, links to local media coverage and other reviews.

I think it’s great to see new works by local playwrights at the Fringe Festival. One entry this year is NKU-grad Hayley Powell’s new play IN WHICH I SET MYSELF ON FIRE.

For the most part, I found the script to be solid and it held my interest throughout. Director Brandon Moore guides a strong ensemble  (Robyn Novak as Sylvia, Simon Powell as Roman, Blair Bowman as Chris and Carey Parsons as Rita) well in the confined space. The blocking made good use of the playing area and had a sense of purpose. Emotionally the scenes felt right. Sylvia and Chris’ confrontation scene was a personal favorite. Also the cast seems to have done some in-depth research on how to act drunk. 🙂

Carey Parsons as Rita, Blair Bowman as Chris, Simon Powell as Roman,  & Photo by Mikki Schaffner.

Carey Parsons as Rita, Blair Bowman as Chris, Simon Powell as Roman & Robyn Novak as Sylvia. Photo by Mikki Schaffner.

I wasn’t sure on the time frame involved. I understand the main three were college friends, but how long after college are the scenes taking place?

Live cellist Cole Guillian accompanies the play and at times it is very effective. In a couple of scenes, as he started to play, my first thought was that someone’s cell phone was going off.

I’m not sure what the next step is for this work but I could see it expanded into a full length play. What follows are some observations for whatever their worth. I was a bit unclear about Rita (BTW Parsons gave great face throughout the show). She was a friend to Sylvia, but didn’t seem to interact much with the other characters.

The issue of catholic-guilt seemed a little light. Heaven and hell aren’t just Catholic concepts and with audience members not being Catholic, you may have to provide a bit more exposition for them regarding the guilt.

Additional lines or scenes to better help understand Chris & Roman’s relationship , why Roman and Sylvia ever got married at all, and a bit more resolution to Chris and Sylvia’s relationship after the big confrontation.

Overall a very promising start on a new work from a new organization.

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.

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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Filed under Cincy Fringe Festival, Reviews

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