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.