FAILURE: A LOVE STORY Review

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Victoria Hawley as Gertrude, Gretchen Priddy, as Nelly & Melissa Cathcart as  Jenny June. Photo by Philip Krinsky Productions.

Victoria Hawley as Gertrude, Gretchen Priddy, as Nelly & Melissa Cathcart as Jenny June. Photo by Philip Krinsky Productions.

FAILURE: A LOVE STORY presented by Northern Kentucky University through Dec. 7. Click here for more information on the production. I attended the opening Sunday performance.

NKU offers up a quirky, little tale of love lost, lost and lost as their final production of 2014.

The Graces. Photo by Philip Krinsky Productions.

The Graces. Photo by Philip Krinsky Productions.

I really enjoyed the overall tone of the show. In some ways it reminded me of the “Fractured Fairy Tales” from the “Rocky and Bullwinkle” cartoon. The show is well-cast with a strong ensemble, under the direction of Corrie Danieley. Narration was provided by a greek chorus, The Graces, performed by Sophia Dewald, Megan Urz and Molly Watson.  They do well, but I did have some problems understanding the words when they spoke in unison. Also I would have liked to have seen them play a bit more to the whole audience, not just out at eye level.

Music was performed by a talented onstage quartet, The Gramophone, consisting of Rhys Boatwright, Julie Gallaugher, Adam Razavi and music director Jacob Priddy. There was an ongoing issue that any dialogue spoken while they played tended to be overpowered by the music.

Andy Simpson as John N. Fail & Hunter Henrickson as Mortimer Mortimer. Photo by Philip Krinsky

Andy Simpson as John N. Fail & Hunter Henrickson as Mortimer Mortimer. Photo by Philip Krinsky Productions.

The three Fail sisters (Gretchen Priddy as Nelly, Melissa Cathcart as Jenny June and Victoria Hawley as Gertrude)  had believable, well-defined characters and a great chemistry between them. Hunter Henrickson does solid work as Mortimer Mortimer, the suitor to the Fail family and has a nice singing voice for his solo. Andy Simpson, as animal-loving, adopted-brother John is deadpan funny and a nice contrast to his sisters. In his first entrance, Simpson carries in another actor to represent John as a child, the same ensemble member who plays the snake later in the show, already dressed in his “snake” costume. This made their first scene together, as adult Jake and the snake, confusing. You may want to have the actor not wear his snake jacket and hat for that first scene.

Photo by by Philip Krinsky Productions.

Photo by Philip Krinsky Productions.

Visually the show looks fantastic. I really enjoyed the scenic design by Ronald. A Shaw. The use of the clock motif throughout was great and the multiple levels of play space worked really well. Terry Powell’s lighting design was also well-done. The back-lit panels on the sides of the stage, and the upstage clock face were bold elements. The river lighting effect was a nice to see, and clever attention to detail. Excellent costume design by Darlene Rawlins and properties design by Bryce Liebert. The store clocks that incorporated actors were personal favorites. The actress who inhabited the cuckoo clock [not listed in the program] did a very funny interpretation without drawing focus. Congratulations to Kuy Parker who served as technical director.

Overall this production is fun, quirky, cleverly staged and delightfully irreverent. Well done.

My rating: 4.25 out of 5

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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