James Thompson, Tory Parker, LiAndrea Goatley, & Bailey Preston in Significant Other. Photo: Wayward Actors
By Josh Harmon
Directed by Taylor Clemons
A review by Brian Kennedy
Entire contents are copyright © 2022 by Brian Kennedy. All rights reserved.
Finding love is tough. Being the only one left after all of your close friends have found their own loves is even tougher. Wayward Actors’ Company showcases those feelings to varying degrees of success in Significant Other, now playing at The Bard’s Town.
The Josh Harmon play, directed by Taylor Clemons, features Jordan (James Thompson), a single gay man standing on the edge of 30 and wondering if there’s anyone to love him. Throughout the play, Jordan’s life becomes more and more isolated as his once very close female friends Kiki (LiAndrea Goatley), Laura (Tory Parker), and Vanessa (Bailey Preston) find and marry their significant others.
The chemistry between the four friends was a little hard to determine early on. The very first scene at Kiki’s bachelorette party went too slow, lacking the necessary enthusiasm from anyone on stage. However, in this same stretch, there was a heartwarming and humorous rendition of Celine Dion’s “Because You Loved Me.”
As his friends find their partners, Jordan struggles to connect with someone. His attempts include falling for a fellow office worker Will (Darien Dean, in one of three roles) and their storyline dominates the first act, soon talking to each other and, eventually, going to a movie theater to watch a documentary on the Franco-Prussian War.
There are plenty of funny lines and expressive moments within the Jordan/Will storyline. However, Thompson’s line delivery lacked a lot of feeling. When Jordan watches Will emerging from a pool, Thompson recites Jordan’s monologue with little of the feelings of desire, longing, and excitement that the text seems to call for
Thankfully, Thompson does a better job handling the emotions associated with isolation and loneliness, which simmered in the first act but bubbled to the surface in the second act. Jordan’s attempt to fight off sending an email that makes him seem needy felt much more real. Later, those same feelings boil over via a selfish rant that Thompson delivers perfectly and is a highlight of the show.
Throughout Jordan’s struggles to find love, he leans on his close relationship with his grandmother Helene (Jennifer Starr). Starr delightfully uses a Jewish New York accent that is not over the top and switches effortlessly between hilarious moments and the more poignant ones.
Another fun character was Evan (Brad Lambert, one of three characters he plays), another of Jordan’s co-workers. Lambert went appropriately loud and over the top, livening up the proceedings.
The stage was bare in the center throughout the play except when chairs or props were brought out. Those chairs were placed on stage left and right when not in use. Also, one side of the stage had a bookcase with a coffee pot and, hanging above it, a clock that only showed the time of 10:10. Office scenes made use of this area. The other side showed some books on a nightstand. Above them were some posters advertising the musicals Pippin and Now Here This. The spare design work kept the focus on the actors.
June 17 – 19, 24 – 26 @ 7:30 pm
Wayward Actors Company
The Bard’s Town
1801 Bardstown Road
Louisville, KY 40205
Brian Kennedy is a nearly life-long Louisville resident who has performed in plays since 2004. He also wrote extensively about the Louisville theatre scene for Louisville.com and Examiner.com from 2009-2015. Currently, he maintains the theatre blog LouBriantheater. When not involved in the theatre scene, he is an avid runner, participating in 5Ks throughout the state and in southern Indiana.