SURVIVAL CHECK

flat tire theatre company · Ages 14+ · flashing lights · world premiere · United States of America

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Review by BEN BOQUIST

June 10, 2018 certified reviewer

What I liked

The cast is great! Everyone delivers their lines with a conversational tone that feels real and current. What could easily dip into awkward cosplay nerdom constantly checks itself with tongue in cheek humor. Shae Tomlinson is particularly good as the sharp, charismatic friend. When she’s not delivering lines, she’s thinking, processing, reacting. The script gives her lots of moments to be charming and take charge, and she does a lot with them.

But what REALLY shines here is the script itself. Without giving too much away, Lloyd uses the whimsical set up to comment on grief, shame and loss. The whole thing is a study in balance. Between tragedy and comedy, between making fun of nerds and celebrating them, between despair and hope.

What I didn't like

I wouldn’t change a thing.

My overall impression

It’s been over a week since I saw the preview show, but it’s popped into my head several times since.

The play follows four college age friends who go on a camping trip and end up getting sucked into a magical adventure when they find fantasy weapons in the woods. If you think it sounds like a simple comedy, you’d be wrong because Lloyd seamlessly weaves existential themes and deep relationships into the light hearted premise. ​But before I talk about the cleverness of the script, I want to talk about the team. I was first introduced to @flattiretheatre at last year’s Fringe. This is a group of friends who (mostly) studied theater together in college, and when you watch their plays (I’ve seen 3) it’s impossible not to feel the chemistry. These are people who get each other and have fun creating together. Because of that, Survival Check feels cohesive in a way that a lot of plays don’t. This is true of the cast, but also the people off stage.
Two examples are designer Sam Roseman’s set, which consists of a geometric animated forest projected on the wall, timed to transition with the scenes, and Jon lloyd’s original music, which gives the play’s most dramatic moments an epic, climactic build. But everyone involved was on the same page, and it shows.
The cast is also particularly good. Everyone delivers their lines with a conversational tone that feels real and current. What could easily dip into awkward cosplay nerdom constantly checks itself with tongue in cheek humor. Shae Tomlinson is particularly good as the sharp, charismatic friend. When she’s not delivering lines, she’s thinking, processing, reacting. The script gives her lots of moments to be charming and take charge, and she does a lot with them.
But what REALLY shines here is the script itself. Without giving too much away, Lloyd uses the whimsical set up to comment on grief, shame and loss. The whole thing is a study in balance. Between tragedy and comedy, between making fun of nerds and celebrating them, between despair and hope.
There are 3 shows left, go see it!

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