A roller coaster of emotion. I was smiling through almost the entire show, laughing one moment and biting my tongue the next as the cast deftly moved from one beat to the next. Simply put, this is polished, professional work with an inspired message that is explored intelligently with a balance of themes and language palatable for modern audiences who might just have forgotten about Louisa May Alcott and her ‘Little Women’.
What I didn't like
The commitment, energy, and sense of play helps pad out a 2 hr show, but there might be another 10-15 min to shave off. Really, it’s a matter of tightening up certain moments, dances, songs, etc. This is still an independently rehearsed Fringe show, and so it will benefit a great deal from these performances as it finds that perfect length and rhythm.
My overall impression
Firstly, this is no simple retelling of Little Women but a reinvention of that story as a lens through which we explore the author herself, and how a writer can reach out to others by writing “what they know”. Of course, how a writer disguises their own trials, pains, triumphs and losses is often a mystery. Unraveling the mystery of Ms Alcott is uproarious fun.
Without question one of this year’s best Fringe shows. The team behind this production, Tier 5, also produced the best international production 2 years back. Once again, they bring a degree of craft, artistry, and inspired enthusiasm sorely lacking in most other shows I’ve seen over the years here in LA. Hilary Kelman leads a fully committed ensemble cast that takes charge of the stage right from the start. The cast as a whole is solid and strong, making a good show of how one can go over the top in one, hysterically funny breath and bring it right down into a humbling place of authentic, heart rending vulnerability the next.