FORTUNE Quick Review

FORTUNE presented by Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati through Feb. 15. I attended the opening night performance. 

ETC_Fortune1

Jeremy Dubin as Jeremy & Kelly Mengelkoch as Maude. Photo by Ryan Kurtz.

With Valentine’s day only a few weeks away, it’s not surprising to see a romantic comedy or two pop up on local stages. Such is the case with FORTUNE at ETC which features real life husband and wife Jeremy Dubin and Kelly Mengelkoch. As with any good rom-com, the story isn’t as much about “if” they will get together, but the journey of “how” they get together.

ETC_Fortune3

Kelly Mengelkoch as Maude & Jeremy Dubin as Jeremy. Photo by Ryan Kurtz.

Under the direction of Brian Robertson, Dubin and Mengelkoch easily win over the audience as two lonely souls who can’t seem to get out of their own way to find happiness. Their chemistry together is readily apparent and very enjoyable to watch.

Brian c. Mehring’s detailed set design is divided into two play areas. Madame Rosa’s (Maude’s) aged, fortune-telling apartment beautifully appointed by Shannon Rae Lutz on stage right is opposed by a wonderful, visually deceptive promenade. Amanda McGee’s costume design nicely defines the characters and their various permutations as the story progresses.

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Jeremy Dubin as Jeremy & Kelly Mengelkoch as Maude. Photo by Ryan Kurtz.

On opening night, the first act was a little uneven as if the actors hadn’t fully found their footing. The second act built a good momentum, culminating in a satisfying conclusion. For me, there were moments when the silliness of the promenade scenes was pushed a little too hard. There was also an issue with the sound effects drowning out Madame Rosa’s first reading. These are minor complaints that I’m sure will quickly resolve themselves.

Overall a funny, enjoyable beginning to a love story, perfect for a date night.

My rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Click here for more information on the production.

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