Seeing as that I have never written a play review before, and that no one at Behind the Hype has, I thought I'd delve into the internet for some good resources on how to do one properly. I'm not big on "research" or working hard, so I went with the first Google result. So, thanks to Mission Viejo High School Drama department, I was able to follow a step by step guide on how to review Boston Court Theater's Courting Vampires. Enjoy!
Courting Vampires is directed by Jessica Kubzansky, who according to her bio, has directed a bunch of shit from Geffen Playhouse to Disney Hall. It was written by Laura Schellhardt. Rill Archer played by Carey Peters leads the cast as a tightly wound older sister, while Maya Lawson plays Nina, the free spirited, yet promiscuous younger sister. Bo Foxworth also stars, as the program aptly describes, " Man: Everyone in between."
What was unique about the play was that it was narrated in the courtroom of the mind, belonging to the loving, yet frigidly overbearing heroine Rill. Living vicariously through her energetically naive, yet promiscuous younger sister Nina, Rill spends the play trying to figure out how to kill the vampire that fatally infects her sister. Nina's vampire bite as suggested as a metaphor for AIDS, but neither the characters nor the writing ever alludes to it definitively. Simply put, I loved Bo Foxworth, who's versatility in playing at least ten characters, all with a masterful ease truly convinced me that each manifestation was actually a different actor. His stint as Rill's semi-creepy, but lovable co-worker was laugh out loud fun, while his poignant portrayal of the girls' inept father was thoughtful and subtle, yet convincing.
The chemistry between the actresses was also quite moving. At times, their relationship was marred by awkwardness, resentment, and uncertainty, which is truly indicative of most siblings'. Lawson's portrayal as the eccentric Nina was very fun to watch, as she was the light of the show-- something about her voice was just really really pleasant.
However, I found the pacing to be a bit slow. Even with a 15 minute intermission, I thought the play dragged. I'd doze off every now and then only to wake up and still find myself in the exact same scene. Be warned that there is a lot of talking in the play, which means that it's meant for the intellect. So, you're most likely going to have to use your noggin, if you want to understand what's going on. Truth is, I wasn't sure if the vampire bite was actually AIDS or if there really were vampires in the story. Things like that left me feeling a bit confused. But maybe I'm just not that smart.
The stage design of the show was also quite interesting-- the floor was covered in cabinets that could be pulled out and house little props for the actors. I thought it was a clever little touch, which helped me see the stage more as the file cabinet of Rill's mind. Bottom line: it's not bad. Story's original. Acting is strong, and it's a decent way to spend a Thursday night or a Sunday afternoon. NOT worth a Friday though. I'd much rather be drunk or topless.
Courting Vampires is playing at the Boston Court Theater In Pasadena. Runs through June 7. Running time: 2 HOURS, 30 MIN. $32/ $27 (discount). To buy tickets or for more info: http://www.bostoncourt.com/the_show.htm