Monday, July 23, 2012

KC Fringe "Tack Driver" review by timlovestheatre

"Driver" Occasionally Loses Its Way
Rating: 4

Tack Driver
KC Fringe Festival

When the playwright/director of a show does a curtain speech telling you that the play is unfinished and that the actors may have to pick up their scripts it usually means you are in for a bumpy ride.  And it's true there were some bumps but there was also much to be enjoyed.

The premise of two brothers reuniting to kill a former step-father is full of potential angst and tragic memories.  When the script is on it is really ON.  Some of the interplay and bickering between the brothers is truly inspired and even riveting.

The performances by Kyle Hatley and Matt Rapport were both good but I often thought that just when momentum and flow was building it would be destroyed by a rough spot.  These rough spots might have been where new dialogue was inserted or where not as much rehearsal had occurred.  No matter what the source it disrupted the rhythm of the work.

An unintended fourth wall breaker for me was the repetitive nature of the dialogue.  There were many exchanges similar to this:

Brother 1: "Why did you do this?"
Brother 2: "Why did I do this? Why did I do this? Why did I do THIS?"
Brother 1: "Yeah, Why did YOU do this?"

It is unclear whether this is a failing of the script or is actors trying to find a line.  Perhaps it is a light tipping of the hat to the professionalism of the performers that this is ambiguous.

While we are tipping hats, let's also recognize Misty Pelas and Gary Campbell (set and props design respectively) for the most complete and well decorated set so far in this year's Fringe. Also, some interesting environmental noise from sound designer Dan Earnest added to the atmosphere.

Is the Fringe a laboratory?  Is it appropriate to ask audiences to pay $10 (plus Fringe button) to watch a show that is only 90% complete?  I leave that decision up to you but either way this show is an excellent addition to this year's festival and shows great potential for future offerings.

Sun 7/22 5:30 pm, Mon 7/23  6:00 pm and Fri 7/27        7:30 pm

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