Opening night can be a daunting time, not only for the performers and directors, but also for the technical teams. When it boils down to it a good show can become a disaster if the technical team are not on top form. Mistakes are human and, naturally, small slip-ups that result from nerves and can be easily resolved do not affect the overall performance.
However, in the case of this rather flat comedy drama mistakes were made throughout the entire fifty minute running time. Surely someone would notice when the actor delivering a monologue was not lit after the fifth time. The performance also suffered from a number of dialogue slip-ups from the show’s two co-directing stars, which are proof of the production’s amateur quality.
The show follows two teachers, one young gay man and one older Jewish female, who are supervising their high school students on a camping trip. Whilst the two protagonists are initially at odds with each other, they eventually begin to share their stories of prejudice and slowly bond over a bottle of cheap vodka. Meanwhile in a tent, a closeted teen hints at his secret to a larger than life female friend.
It’s a nice set-up that has some potential. The script has a handful of fun moments and there are a few witty lines that will create a smile, if not a belly laugh. There are also some welcome attempts at pointed social commentary on how gay teachers are treated in today’s society. However, the production as a whole is a rather plodding affair that limps between scenes where it should aim to drive on to a frenzied conclusion. It almost cries out for all four characters to be simultaneously on stage in a state of misunderstanding, but this never happens. Instead we are treated to endless character monologues that add nothing to the performance beyond opportunities for the lighting to go wrong.
The performances are shaky but not terrible; the younger cast members are better, in particular Jessica Bergman who gives a welcome humanity to her loud and proud character. The piece ends on a nicely bittersweet note but it’s a case of too little too late and it can’t shake off the dreariness that preceded it.