BLOOMSDAY presented by Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati through April 23. Click here for more information on the production. I attended the opening night performance.
Bloomsday is a commemoration and celebration of the life of Irish writer James Joyce, during which the events of his novel Ulysses (which is set on June 16, 1904) are relived. It is observed annually on June 16 in Dublin. Joyce chose the date as it was the date of his first outing with his wife-to-be, Nora Barnacle. The name is derived from Leopold Bloom, the protagonist of Ulysses. –Wikipedia
The adage that “Youth is wasted on the young” meets the age-old question of “If you could go back in time and change one thing, what would it be?” in Steven Dietz’s BLOOMSDAY, the final offering of the ETC season and their final show pre-renovation.
Due to this play taking place in both the present and 35 years earlier, the cast consists of two versions of the same couple; modern day Cait and Robert (Annie Fitzpatrick and Barry Mulholland) and their younger incarnations of Caithleen and Robbie (played by Becca Howell and Patrick E. Phillips). The cast is wonderful, charming to watch, and the chemistry between the pairs is easily believable. Director Michael Evan Haney has such an eye for detail and I enjoyed the mirroring taking place in the staging and physical performances.
The second act is very enjoyable and ends on a very satisfying note. I did struggle with pinpointing what troubled me about the first act. At times, I found the volume of exposition to be a bit overwhelming in that it pulled my focus away from the action on stage as I tried to keep the time travel, life details of all four characters, and hints to what did/will happen straight. But maybe that is just how my mind works. 🙂
I really enjoyed the look of Brian c. Mehring’s set, but I absolutely fell in love with how well it worked with the lighting and staging. The special effect was an unexpected and pleasant surprise as well. A shout out to the interns for their well-choreographed set changes that kept the pacing strong.
Overall, a well done and charming, romantic tale where the journey of the first act pays off in the destination of act two.
My rating: 4.25 out of 5
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