Playwright David Ives.
All In The Timing
Written by David Ives
Directed by James Tompkins
Reviewed by Craig Nolan Highly
Entire contents are copyright © 2015, Craig Nolan Highley. All rights reserved.
Anthologies, whether they take the form of classic TV shows like The Twilight Zone or Alfred Hitchcock Presents, movies like Trilogy of Terror or The Illustrated Man, or even plays like Durlightful Durlovely Durang, or And To All a Goode Night are usually a mixed bag. Generally you get a hodgepodge of stories, some good, some not so good, which are a variation on a theme. And that is certainly the case with Louisville Repertory’s current production of David Ives’ All in the Timing, a collection of short plays that for the most part remains quite entertaining.
They get the weakest of the lot out of the way at the start. In Sure Thing, we are treated to a seemingly endless Groundhog Day-style repetition, as a young man (Shauvon McGill) attempts to approach a pretty lady (Kate Bringardner) at a table in a coffee shop. Each time the conversation derails, a bell rings and the action rewinds. There are a couple of cute moments, and both actors are quite fun, but the joke gets stale fairly quickly.
My favorite of the lot is the next piece, The Universal Language, in which a cripplingly shy woman (Alyssa Tyne Furkin) attempts to learn a bizarre new language to boost her self-esteem. In an amazing performance of vocal manipulation, her instructor (Richie Goff) rattles off endless amounts of gibberish, filled with hidden pop references, and the whole sequence is just hilarious.
Next is The Philadelphia (a title that no longer makes sense, since in this production all references to it are changed to “the Louisville”). This piece also goes on a bit long, as the joke is played out pretty quickly. It’s a comment on states of being, esoteric levels of consciousness each represented with the name of a city. I’ll be honest, I’m not sure I got the point of this one, but performers Sean Childress, Dan Shoemaker, and Abby Braune give it their all!
Closing out Act I we get Variations on the Death of Trotsky, a completely over-the-top farce involving the titular historic figure (played with full marble-voiced Russian accent by Rich Williams), as he succumbs to the axe in his head. The scenario plays out multiple times with various results, and Williams gets some great comedic support from his co-stars Elaine Hackett and Neil Mulac. This one places a close second for the best piece in the lot.
After intermission, things take a change of pace with Mere Mortals, as three high-rise construction workers (Sean Childress, Dan Shoemaker, and Michael Smith Jr.) ruminate on their lives, each revealing a surprising secret identity. Not quite as funny as the rest of the show, but possibly the best written of all of them, and all three actors are very good in it.
Time Flies is a surprisingly sweet-natured riff on love and mortality, as a pair of anthropomorphized flies (Neil Mulac and Abby Braun) discovers they had better make love right away because they only live for a day. To reveal what character Gerry Rose plays in the piece would spoil a hilarious surprise!
The show closes out with Arabian Nights, another riff on language in which a man (Michael K. Smith Jr.) in a foreign country must rely on a cartoonish useless interpreter (Dzemila Bilanovic) as he tries to converse with a woman (Megan Hawley). It has its moments, but it feels like a retread of several other pieces we’ve already seen in the show so it’s inclusion here is an odd choice.
A fun evening of theater clocking in at just under two hours for seven plays is made even more of a good time by its location: The Bard’s Town, where you can have a libation or two while you watch. Throw in dinner beforehand, and that sounds like a fun date night.
Featuring Dzemila Bilanovic, Abby Braune, Kate Bringardner, Sean Childress, Alyssa Tyne Furkin, Richie Goff, Elaine Hackett, Megan Hawley, Shauvon McGill, Neil Mulac, Gerry Rose, Dan Shoemaker, Michael K. Smith Jr., and Rich Williams.
All In the Timing
February 6-8, 13-14 @ 7:30pm
February 15 @ 5:30pm
Louisville Repertory Company
at The Bards Town Theater
1801 Bardstown Road
Louisville, KY 40205