It refuses to take the step beyond its tagline, and because of that runs the tragic risk of being lost in the noise of the Fringe.
The play is about three women all connected by a man named Alex. They’re his girlfriend, his Agent and a lover, and his mother, however, when he’s hit by a runaway tube train, their lives are all thrown into chaos. The death of Alex affects all of them differently, and the show then becomes about how these different, disparate people deal with grief. Their perceptions of Alex as a person and their relationship with him change how they react to his death, all to extraordinary effects. But it’s here where the problems start to arise, because the show’s three parts don’t feel like they belong in the same place as soon as we get there. Anna and Julia, the girlfriend and the mom, explore how they handle Alex’s death extremely differently, but Sally, the lover and aspiring model, continues to deal with her life in the city. In fact, the only remnant of Alex in her life is an unplanned child. And this thematic dissonance keeps the show from what could be brilliance. It refuses to fully commit to being interesting and is all the worse for it.
That’s not to say the show is bad, because it isn’t. The music, although derivative of Pasek and Paul at certain points, is fun and adds to the show, with the exception of a whole lot of drum solos, which I can say universally suck. The performances were inconsistent but good, with special mention of Ellen Timothy who whose voice blew me away and who brought a calm maturity that the role of Julia demanded. The set was sparse, as is typical of the Fringe, but inventive, with the crates used to make up the space doubling as storage space for the props. These bits were all good – beyond good maybe. But they can’t save a show from itself. For every moment of fun or every beautiful moment of crushing anxiety, there were moments that felt out of place and off. It refuses to take the step beyond its tagline, and because of that runs the tragic risk of being lost in the noise of the Fringe.