Presented by Bridge Repertory Theater of Boston
By Marisa Wegrzyn
Directed by Bridget Kathleen O’Leary
May 15-June 5, 2016
Deane Hall, Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts
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Review by Travis Manni
(Boston, MA) I tend to get bored easily when watching comedic plays. They need to be clever but relatable, funny but with strokes of brutal honesty. Most times, shows fail to live up to my expectations, but I continue to see them because when one does I have an amazingly good time. Thankfully, Marisa Wegrzyn’s Mud Blue Sky was a perfect example of the latter.
Beth (Leigh Barrett), a middle-aged flight attendant grappling with uncertainty, is contemplating an early retirement, but hasn’t told anyone. Her friend Sam (Deb Martin), an outspoken and confident colleague, comes knocking on her hotel room door to invite her out for drinks, but Beth rejects the invitation. Instead, Beth steals away from the hotel to meet up with her pot dealer, Jonathan (Kaya Simmons), a senior who found his prom night disenchanting and with a passion for drawing.
After a few drags, and still needing to settle the bill, Beth asks Jonathan up to her room so she can grab some money from her purse, but falls asleep and must scramble to hide (unsuccessfully so) Jonathan when Sam comes knocking again.
The set for this show was limited but worked well to tell the story. A hotel room with a bed and a closed bathroom, which proved a great off-stage area to build tension, and a space on the outskirts of the stage that served as an outdoor patio with the help of a simple lighting adjustment. The one bit of staging that didn’t quite click for me were the music selections that played during scene transitions. They were often too upbeat and didn’t pair well with the content of the show.
The establishment of characters and their personalities was done with such ease that I immediately felt invested in each one. By the end, the stakes for the woman (and one adolescent boy) were established and I understood each person’s desires. Barrett as the hesitant Beth had not only impeccable timing when she was stoned, but also the perfect amount of angst to compliment Beth’s feeling of unfulfillment. Martin as the effervescent Sam played off the perfect amount of confidence and had a mischievous humor that kept me engaged and laughing the entire time. And Simmons as the spontaneous and naïve schoolboy portrayed an adorable curiosity and wonder that made his character so endearing.
A special kudos goes to Kippy Goldfarb, who filled in the role of Angie, an old colleague of Beth and Sam’s who was fired, very last minute after the actor had a medical injury that forced her to withdraw from the role. Despite reading straight from a script, bright yellow highlighted marks and all, Goldfarb played off Angie’s hopefulness, yet slight edge of despondency, with aplomb.
Mud Blue Sky deals with the indecisive personalities we all become inclined to when we wake up and realize our life didn’t turn out quite the way we expected it would. It’s about friends and how we treat each other, and how we treat ourselves. And it’ll have you laughing from beginning to end.
Mud Blue Sky runs for 1 hour, 30 minutes and will hold performances through June 5th. Due to Adrianna Krstansky’s injury, Veronica Wiseman will play the role of Angie for the remainder of the performances. To purchase tickets, click here.