Performance Review: The Do’s and Don’ts of Time Travel

Philadelphia Magazine welcomes new theater critic and Villanova’s assistant professor of theater, David Cregan, to the fold (MB Case got hit in the head with a sandbag and her return is questionable) …

The Do’s and Don’ts of Time Travel by Nicholas Wardigo
Straw Flower Productions
Directed by John V. Bellomo
Starring Kate Brennan, Jen Jaynes, Sarah Milici, Amanda Schoonover

Strengths … There are some surprisingly funny moments (assuming you find sci-fi humor amusing) in this play that mixes a troubled lesbian relationship with the struggle against cancer and, of all things, the notion of time travel. Some of the performances are energetic, witty and, at times, moving. Kate Brennan carries the production as best as she can in her thoughtful and inventive portrayal of Zoey 1. Director John Bellomo creates a few playful moments of stagecraft that leave you wondering, "How did they do that?"

Weaknesses … Nicholas Wardigo’s play is wordy, heady and uneven. While there are remarkable moments of tenderness and anxiety at the center of the troubled story of the lovers, Claire and Zoey, and their battle against Claire’s recurring cancer, these scenes are framed with protracted discourses on the logistics of time travel and Chaos Theory. In his attempt to weave complicated ideas into this potentially powerfully story, Wardigo bores the audience. Jen Janynes as Zoey 2 was a weak link. Her acting was mostly in her head and her lack of physicality drew the energy out of every scene she was in.

Verdict … Bellomo’s artistic vision makes this play interesting to look at, but some of the performances are extremely lackluster. Combined with an erratic script, Do’s and Don’ts reads positively amateurish despite the heroic efforts of the production team.

Through October 19th at The Playground at the Adrienne. Tickets $12 to $20.

  • Mike

    This review "reads positively amateurish"! I have not seen the show, so I do not have a bias either way. However, your reviews tend to be poorly written. This has been going on for a long time, but has Mr. Cregan ever read a theater review before? No mention of lights, sound, set, costumes? Four people in the cast and you mention two (one as a strength, one as a weakness)? Come on, folks. Get it together. Either start writting serious theater reviews, or stop reviewing theater.

  • Marielle

    I saw the play last Sunday night and thought the performances were at times very moving, and the story really makes you think about the motivations of each character and the physics involved in time-traveling. Strawflower Productions is a theater company dedicated to finding unknown actors and scripts, so any amateurish moments are likely because these aren't exactly Broadway actors, though one actor (Amanda Schoonover) is a Barrymore award-winner.

    The theater is indeed an impossibly small place, but it really lends itself to an intimate theater experience. If you are looking for a grand theater experience its true that this isn't the play to see, but if you want to feel close to the actors and see a play that makes you think, I definitely recommend this play.

    Check out the Inky review if you'd like a third opinion: http://www.philly.com/inquirer/magazine/30612244.html