|Clockwise from upper left: Cynthia Hannah, Tim Reilly, Katie Sparer and Jim Schilling . Photo: Regina Madwed/Capitol Photointeractive|
By John Cariani
Directed by Kevin Connors
Music Theatre of Connecticut, Westport
Eight short plays with a prologue and epilogue depict folks falling in and out of love in a town called Almost, ME. The action takes place on a Friday evening in front of a rustic cabin-like backdrop (Scott Holdredge, design) when there is a chance of seeing the Nrothern Lights (similated by designer Joshua Scherr). The plays, featuring different characters played by Cynthia Hannah, Tim Reilly, Jim Schilling and Katie Sparer, are separate from each other, but contain some mentions of common people or places to tie them together.
The actors seem to be having fun and deserve awards for fast their lightning-quick costume changes (Diane Vanderkroef, design) that keep the pace between the plays brisk. Reilly shows off some impressive facial-expression skills and Sparer delights with a wide range of characters. The publicity materials suggest this is perfect for Valentine's Day and we agree. A fun date night of escapism.
Cariani's predictable script, which takes a few too many liberties with reality and has you saying, "What the heck?" just a few too many times, was a big hit when it premiered in Portland. ME, but flopped Off-Broadway. That sort of says it all.
The show runs through Feb. 19. Performances: Fridays at 8 pm, Saturdays at 4 and 8 pm, Sundays at 3 pm at MTC's studio theater. 246 Post Road East (Lower Level) in Westport. Tickets range from $25 to $45 with a discount for seniors and students. Call 203-454-3883 or visit http://www.musictheatreofct.com.
MTC's final production of its 25th anniversary season will by I Left My Heart. . . A Salute to the Music of Tony Bennett April 20-May 6.