The Navigator

burning clown productions · United States

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Review by DAVID STOLWORTHY

June 19, 2014 certified reviewer
tagged as: amazing · heartfelt · fabulous · encore

My overall impression

The Navigator was truly a pleasure to see. Honestly, I have no idea where to start my review. Productions like this one are the reason that I love theater and the people that dedicate their lives to it. There is not a single person that I think doesn’t deserve some recognition on this piece.

When I first walked into the theater, I was in awe with how beautiful the theater (Actor’s Company) was. To be frank, I spent a good five minutes trying to nonchalantly figure out where the sound booth was because it was hidden very well. The set was simple. A couple boxes, flats, chairs, and a crafted steering wheel was all they used and it was all that was needed!

Sound Design? HOLY HELL. Props to the actors and the technical staff for this! Every single car-related sound (revving of an engine, emergency break, door slam, wheels turning on gravel) was choreographed perfectly to the actors onstage. Watching this execution between the technical and the physical was engaging enough!

Kelly Anne Burns (The Navigator) made me laugh out loud with the simple choices she made that spoke volumes. She plays the GPS voice, which for some unexplained reason has the ability to predict the future and prevent unhappy events from taking place. Her robotic movements and voice added this simplistic beauty to her character (YES. A car can be beautiful!) and the expressions that she gave with her eyes were captivating.

Joseph Franchini (Dave) plays a businessman who is down on his luck financially and emotionally. His life at home and at work is crumbling underneath him. I felt my heart breaking for him and was continuously gunning for him, even when he got a little too comfortable with his GPS ESP. I wanted to slap him upside the head for being so stubborn with his wife, but that’s a good thing! Right?

Mike Smith Rivera plays three roles, each differing in age, physicality, personality, and tone. Something that would be a challenge for most actors appears effortless watching Mike’s performance!

Heidi Jo Scheller (Lily) plays Dave’s wife. Her performance made me want to call my mom and tell her I loved her, but I couldn’t because of time zone differences! A sensitive and graceful performance. And her Southern Travel Agent isn’t too shabby either!

There is a reason that this piece is a New York Times Critic’s Pick. Beautifully natural writing, dedicated and talented actors, and a message that everyone can relate to. “Life isn’t worth living if you don’t make some mistakes along the way,” something that this audience member needs to take to heart.

Thank you Burning Clown Productions.

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