Should you see them?
Blazer follows the adventures of Tom’s lucky blazer; he plans on wearing it to propose to his girlfriend, but his friends have other ideas. It gets off to a slow start with dialogue that drags, in part due to the meekness of Tom’s character compared to the much more confident Simon. The show does pick up when their friends Shayne and Rob convince Tom to lend them the blazer in service of an epic night.
The hijinks the blazer and its wearers go through in pursuit of hooking up are predictable, although I did enjoy the multimedia presentation of these scenes. Set as silent, black and white films, these off-stage misadventures are projected onto a screen at intervals throughout the play. The living room set – an old, beat-up couch and a coffee table strewn with empty beer cans – is effective but better suited to a smaller venue.
The ending is cliché, with Tom learning that his friends are more important than his blazer. Blazer may not be highly original or provocative, but it is entertaining for audience members who appreciate “bro” culture. The characters aren’t deep but they are likeable and fun.
Love and War
Helen is a war widow trying to process her grief. When a group of parents come to her untidy home to discuss her suitability as a teacher, she shows them how her storytelling captivates students by recounting how she met, married, and lost Ron.
The character of Ron isn’t as well developed as Helen so the flashback scenes don’t always work. It felt as though the play was built around Helen’s emotional turmoil to the detriment of other details. I’d like to see the production team revisit this show to flesh out their male lead and establish specifically where and when the story is taking place. Losing the parent-teacher meeting motif could also simplify the plot and allow the focus to really be on Helen’s sorrow, which is where Jeremy Piamonte’s writing excels.
As Helen reaches the end of her story all of her emotions come to the forefront: anger, desperation, loneliness, sadness, courage, and more. It is here that Kate Boone shines: I was blown away by the sheer power and versatility of her acting. She is definitely an actress to watch. With her at the helm, the show was a highlight of my evening but it has the potential to be so much more.
Classic Horror Movie Mistakes
Classic Horror Movie Mistakes relies on familiar characters: Felix (David Coleman), an aggressive, take-charge kind of a guy, and Leanne (Marissa Caldwell), a sweet but easily-scared siren. These teenagers are barricaded in a room in the middle of a zombie invasion with The Professor who is determined to teach them what five fatal mistakes to avoid, according his research on horror movies. Aaron Lajeunesse steals the show as an overly-enthusiastic, eccentric educator who explains trends in his favorite films with lengthy lectures and exciting examples.
The examples come as movie scenes played by Ryan Nadon, Heidi Spicer, and Paul Piekoszewski. I enjoyed how these scenes varied the pace of the show with their perfect exaggerations and fun, irreverent humor. They were a great way to show how formulaic horror movies are without insulting fans of the genre.
The final scene with Felix and Leanne parodies the only horror movie trend that was obviously present throughout all the examples: ill-timed sexual attraction between the lead characters. It was a fitting ending to a clever homage to horror movies that is amusing and fun for everyone.
But that’s just my opinion and I’d like to hear what you think. Did you find Blazer’s fable of fraternity fiascos funny or did it fall flat? Did Love and War move you to tears, cheers, or yawns? Did Classic Horror Movie Mistakes have you reaching for the popcorn or longing for brrrraaaaiiinnns? Let me know in the comments below!