Sunbathe in Darkness

comedy · skyejack productions · Ages 15+ · United States of America

world premiere
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June 24, 2019 certified reviewer

What I liked

The casting of the show was so spot on. Specifically, Sarah Richards, who brilliantly swung between moments of high humor and deep pain and suffering flawlessly, and Casey Donovan, who masterfully gave each new character he played a defined physicality, tone and personality.
I also loved the semi-Brechtian nature the piece had at times. Each time the characters acknowledged that they were on stage or that a they were playing multiple characters was hilarious. And the flames coming out of the wands was hilarious.
The last major highlight for me, though the show was most definitly full of highlights, was the final scene between Sarah and Juliana LaBarbiera, who played her older sister. There was something so genuine and honest in their relationship and I was really touched by the scene.

What I didn't like

I wish that the “real life” scenes and relationships were developed a little more. I loved the foundations that were built, but I felt at times that I wanted/needed to see a progression of the relationships beyond what was shown in order to understand the nature of the relationships and the stakes for each character. I feel this most specifically for the relationship between Casey and her best friend Isaac. Even though it was stated that Isaac was Casey’s only friend at school, I couldn’t understand why she took the verbal abuse from him and allowed him to remain in her life.
I would love to see the silent Alfi persona developed more. It took me a while to understand why he was there or what he was doing. Perhaps introducing that version of the character earlier would help?

My overall impression

I loved the show. It worked so well within the confines of what Hollywood Fringe is and played unbelievably well to the audiences that are watching it. All of the references were perfect for the 20-somethings audience and the actors handled the humor of the piece exceptionally. The writing was clever and struck a really nice balance between humor and grounded family drama.
The piece feels like a clever and relevant gothic semi-spin off of the Harry Potter stories, very different but still similar to what Puffs has been so successful at doing off-broadway.

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