Seasons By Elaine Pechacek and Katie Hammond
Directed by Scott Browning
Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival, Black Venue</strong>
This is the show that will make you cry at this year’s Orlando Fringe Festival. In intertwining stories, we meet Peter (Erin Robere) and Helen (Tina Akers); they decided to get married because there wasn’t a whole lot of choice. But they make it work because they actually liked each other, and that will get you a whole lot farther along than raw passion. Not that there anything wrong with passion, it just has a short half-life. And then there’s dear Mrs. Jones, she’s a loving mother, but she’s caught the big CA and the chemo’s not really helping. As she fades away her daughter Hope (Katrina Fabbroni) plans for her own wedding day, it’s an emotional double whammy for both Hope and all of us blubbering away in the audience. As Peter and Helen move through parenthood, Mrs. Jones fades away and Hope has to move on, as well do. It’s the cycle of life, but when it’s YOU on the Ferris Wheel it becomes personal.
This isn’t exactly a classical musical but more of a proper opera – everything is sung, and everything is a bit larger than life and everything is tuned for laughs or tears. There’s plenty of good songs here, some happy, some sad but all in service of this very human story. Musical highlights include Hope’s “Ready Now”, Mrs. Jones’ “Love Openly” and the opening ensemble “Just One Memory Changes Everything.” Hope’s voice is the best but only by a thin margin, every one up here is a seasoned pro on the musical stage. And that’s the one flaw here: you can’t always hear what’s going on up there on stage. The sound mix is overpowering and drowns out the singers, poor Mr. Robere was nearly inaudible on some of his best. This is a common issue in the Black Venue; the concrete walls make for a harsh listening experience and the elevated sound board put the technical in a much different acoustic environment. But I’m happy to report there’s a good little show up there that just needs some technical clean up to become a great little show.
This commentary was based on a technical rehearsal.
This production is part of the 2014 Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival. Information on tickets and show times may be found at http://OrlandoFringe.org/