BWW Reviews: World Premiere of FISHING is Energizing, Fun, and Completely Fresh
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by David Clarke
World Premieres are always exciting to attend. You never know what you are getting yourself into, so there is the allure and excitement of mystery. Sometimes they're terrible. Sometimes they're amazing. Sometimes they're in-between. Luckily, Leighza Walker's first full-length play, FISHING, is an enjoyable and fascinating exploration of loyalty, fidelity, love, and life.
In FISHING, Grant is married to Dana. The couple has been together for 15 years, but the intimacy is missing from their relationship. Meg is Grant's best friend, and she deftly tempts him. Dana is afraid that Grant is sleeping with Meg behind her back, but finds out that he has been perfectly loyal to her. Despite being jealous of the relationship that Grant and Meg have, she gives Meg permission to sleep with Grant which subjects the trio to awkward conversations and places where what was once forbidden doesn't seem as appealing.
Leighza Walker's writing and direction is just as humorous and relatable as any episode of Lena Dunham's HBO TV Show GIRLS. She creates women that are utterly believe and realistic in their unrefined and gauche ways. The audience feels like these women are actually people they know. The plot, even with the wife giving permission for the friends to sleep together, seems wholly plausible because of its implausibility. These characters are emotionally rounded, and their world makes perfect sense within the context of the production.
Michael Weems' Grant has a vocal cadence that is strikingly reminiscent of Adam Driver's Adam Sackler on Lena Dunham's GIRLS. As an often-oblivious male, I found his emotional clumsiness and how unaware he is of Meg's feelings for him delightfully relatable. I knew Michael Weem's Grant because in a situation like the one developed by Leighza Walker, I would probably be Grant.
As Meg, Mischa Hutchings is fantastically flirty and teasing. She yearns for men who are unattainable because of their married status, which she discovers is a true problem of hers. Mischa Hutchings creates a character arc of self-discovery that resonates well and is captivating and entertaining to watch unfold.
Margaret Lewis devastatingly portrays Dana. She nimbly crafts a character that slowly crumbles and devolves seemingly into nothing as the play progresses. Her final moments are powerful and emotive, putting the perfect final touches on a heartfelt and heart rendering performance.
GIna Williamson plays Amy, Meg's hick cousin, with country flair and attitude. She is wry and grounded in reality, helping Meg navigate the waters of self-discovery. GIna Williamson breathes humorous and intuitive life into her characterization.
Eddie Rodriguez expertly portrays machismo and off-putting Mac. Mac is only looking for no strings attached sex, and cares less about feelings and attachments hurt and broken in his wake.
Josh T. Baker's Lighting Design is simplistic and effective. He lights the space well and provides great focal points for the action of the show. Likewise, his color choices for each scene are appropriate and effective.
Set Design by Leighza Walker is evocative of location and does a great job ensuring that audiences know where each scene takes place.
Cone Man Running's World Premiere production of Leighza Walker's FISHING is an energizing, fun, and completely fresh entertaining night of theatre. The story is attention grabbing, well written, perfectly paced, and tremendously acted. It is humorous, realistic, and emotionally sound.
FISHING runs at Obsidian Art Space through February 2, 2013. For more information and tickets, please visit http://conemanprod.wix.com/home or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.All photos by Christine Weems. Courtesy of Cone Man Running Productions.