Presented by Vagabond Theatre Group
By Lesley Anne Moreau
Directed by Zach Winston
Review by Kitty Drexel
(Boston) Fortune’s Favored almost works as theatre. It is so close to being a very well-written, sensitively acted play that it is devastating that it doesn’t achieve the success it’s capable of. The premise is quite clever, the small cast is capable and Zach Winston’s direction is sympathetic to the actors’ needs but the combination of the elements is mismatched. They are crafted pieces from three different puzzles. They don’t fit.
Eudora Redden (Annie Hochheiser) is running the Redden Arcade in Big Ugly, West Virginia for her drunk father. It’s been the family business for three generations. Her cousin Luann O’Hare (Lauren Robinson) has recently crawled home with her tail between her legs from Washington, DC after getting involved with a political scandal. They both meet Davis Milford (Conor Walsh) when he expresses interest in purchasing the business centerpiece, the fortune teller game, and in getting to know Eudora better. Things go south when business and family tangle over the potential sale. Mikey DiLoreto is the recorded voice of John Barrymore.
The romance between Eudora and Davis is the most interesting aspect of Fortune’s Favored. The scenes between the would-be lovers show the audience more than the rest of the play tells us. Moreau tells us about the Redden Family life, she tells us about the relationship between Luanna and Eudora, she tells us about how poor Big Ugly is but shows us very little. We get to watch Eudora and Davis bumble into love. Watch we see draws us in. Moreau’s strong writing choices aren’t strong enough to carry the show or keep the audience’s attention.
The actors do an admirable job with the script. There is an ebb and flow between the writing and the acting; the characters are given depth at times when it hasn’t been granted. Likewise, Moreau gives the actors hints into the psyche of her characters that they can run with. Unfortunately, quirks such as lip smacking and line mumbling detract from the positive work being done on stage.
Fortune’s Favored has the potential to be an excellent show. What it needs is more time to mature and a lengthy workshopping process. Winston, Moreau and the cast are on the right track but they have more work to do.