Sunday, July 31, 2011

KC Fringe "Jason Has Mommy Issues" review by JLin

This Isn't Love, It's Reality
Rating: 5

Jason Has Mommy Issues
KC Fringe Festival

ID8 Productions' Jason Has Mommy Issues

"At age 30, Jason is plunging headlong into his very first midlife crisis. Thankfully, his mother is always around to offer unwanted advice."  That's how Jason Has Mommy Issues by Michael Ruth was billed.  I was completely unprepared for what was actually in store.

First off, Jason's mother is never actually there, she is just in his head.  That being said, Amy Eisele was a wonderful imaginary mom (though I was not a fan of her obviously fake hair piece).  Secondly, his midlife crisis had a lot to do with a bump in the road with his boyfriend Thomas, the bump being an affair with Donnie who was introduced as a straight man.

Once I knew what was going on, I really got into this performance.  It was a wonderfully written play and incredibly well cast.  Jeremy Gassen (Jason) and Gregory Roberts (Thomas) had terrific chemistry; I wouldn't doubt it if they were a couple in real life.  Lanie, played by Cassandra Whitney, was their loud mouthed best friend and she fit the role perfectly, though I often found myself comparing her to Kathy Griffin as she has very similar speech patterns and inflections.  Stephanie Charlton as Kate was natural and, at times, terrifying (she often spoke of very violent things as if they were nothing at all).  I was most surprised by Donnie, portrayed by Matt Leonard.  Wait, didn't I just see him doing pagan rituals and impregnating women in Jet Propulsion?  Not an hour later he is passionately kissing another man, and quite convincingly I might add.  When asked about being a straight actor having to kiss a man on stage he said that it was a role, just like any other.  I w!
 ish all performers had his mentality.

Ruth's script was hilarious and smart and sad and touching and thought provoking and wonderful.  Every scene had its purpose and no line was overdone.  My absolute favorite line was, "This isn't love, it's reality.  There's very little overlap."  Congratulations to all involved in this production; I couldn't have enjoyed it more.  5 out of 5.

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