Not Ready for Prime Time
The EDGE Theatre's self-appointed mission is to "find new playwrights and produce the neglected works" of well-known writers. That this charge knowingly does not lend itself to works with tremendous commercial appeal is admirable. However, that same mantra becomes troublesome when long and dreadful pieces like Nicky Silver's Fit to be Tied come along.
As we open on the gray, bland stage, Arloc (Greg Harrison) tells us in ten minutes what should have taken him two: He's rich, perpetually unhappy, and hates his promiscuous mother. We then meet his mother, Nessa (Ellen Jameson, whose performance is the play's lone saving grace), who's superficial and overdramatizes everything so she can afflict her son. Another character is named Boyd (David Salih), who flamboyantly comes in the form of an angel (he's playing one in a theatrical production) and catches the eye of the repressed Arloc. Then there's poor Carl (Larry Willis), Nessa's new husband, who adds nothing and should have been written out of the play.
The characters are not happy with who they are, and are oblivious to the misery they inflict on others. While tormented souls can make for good theater, none of these people is remotely likable enough to get us to care. There is little worse than watching a play that's dependent on your sympathy for its dramatic effect, but does little to inspire anything more than indifference and resentment.
Watching the play, I couldn't figure out if the tediously self-involved material was hindering the actors, or if the rubber performances weren't giving a struggling script a chance. Gradually I realized both were at fault.
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