Review by JUNESOO HAMJune 10, 2016 certified reviewer
What I liked
a very skillful cast with great chemistry. Laura Shein’s physicalization of her injuries was very convincing, and made me wince watching her move with so much effort. the characters James, Sarah and Richard did a fantastic job creating a sense of them having shared years of history together as was required for the roles. SPOILER ALERT: the lead up to and the hug itself in the last scene was tinged with regret and taut with so much yearning and sadness; Laura and Eric Larson executed it with a nuanced deft that made me wish that they could somehow find a way to work it out. Tasha Gates and Ken Weiler were so pleasurable to watch. Tasha felt like she came off the street and walked into the play, so convincing was her performance. Ken was adroitly charming.
What I didn't like
Laura didn’t feel like a seasoned, battle-worn photojournalist. she had the caustic quality down, but without the dirty grit i expected her character to have, so she seemed more like someone who visited Afghanistan rather than a fighter who was steeped in years of life-threatening circumstances and the chaos of war. more resonance in her voice would help evoke the machismo necessary for this character, so it could then be undercut by the shrill irritability and biting outbursts that Laura is already doing well, which would then serve in making her vulnerable rather than simply irritable, thus making the audience identify with her more. in the scene where he discovers Laura’s secret, i wasn’t convinced that Eric was deeply affected by the wanton death that he saw from his traumatic incident. i felt he really needed to fall apart at the seams here, and unravel, but he wasn’t emotionally able to get there; it’s a very difficult scene because he needs to emotionally escalate from 3 to a 10 within seconds, but i feel confident he can get there the next go around.
My overall impression
what a great directorial effort by Daniel Travis, and a comely fringe debut. the finesse that was wielded for such intense, difficult themes is very commendable, and the actors did a fine job in making that happen. just a couple of tweaks, and this could be a stand-out show for an audience looking for something that makes them really think and feel. i’m all for all the surreal, experimental plays that seem rampant in the fringe catalog, but it’s really nice to see a modern drama based on reality being done here at fringe with such skill. it is worth seeing.