Two Motherfuckers on a Ledge

ensemble theatre · wisdom tooth productions · Ages 13+ · United States of America

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June 12, 2017 certified reviewer

What I liked

The premise is simple enough: a troubled man who believes he is a superhero steps onto the ledge of a skyscraper. A PhD candidate researching his disorder attempts to talk him down, and ultimately finds herself on the same ledge. What follows is a steady unraveling of the notion of “hero,” as the two characters mine their past in order to help each other.

The description above, however, does nothing to express just how sharp, clever, and expertly crafted Ronn’s script is. The script is a gift you unwrap slowly, discovering layer upon layer of intention and depth. Nothing is by accident. Each moment effectively builds to the whole, until the message of the play is made clear and the gift is yours to keep. It’s quite funny at times, poignant at others, and always, always engaging.

As an actor, Ronn is precise and arresting as Allyn. His portrayal of a disordered man is simply heartbreaking. He’s so human it hurts. His character speaks to the reality of suffering a mental illness while still remaining respectful to their struggles.

Veronica Wylie is exceptional as Mattie. Playing a role seemingly written for her, she exhibits a presence that is magnetic. Her skill as an actor only becomes more apparent as her character evolves throughout the piece: she transforms from an objective researcher to an advocate to a vulnerable child to a hero herself. It’s a complicated emotional journey, and one handled with sensitivity and grace by Veronica.

The direction by Chris Game is tight and efficient. Important moments resonate, even as the play moves at a swift tempo. The director wisely allows the actors and script to speak for themselves, and the result is astounding.

What I didn't like

I adored the play and players. What can I say?

My overall impression

Two Motherfuckers on a Ledge is a powerful show about what makes a hero. Is it the will to act, or the act itself? Ronn Johnston’s artfully crafted play is made visceral by his meticulous portrayal of an emotionally troubled soul, and Veronica Wylie deftly navigates her character’s transformation, showcasing both her range and vulnerability. The show, simply put, is a perfect duet.

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