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The Hub Theatre The Pavilion

By • May 26th, 2009 • Category: Reviews
The Pavilion
The Hub Theatre
1st Stage, McLean, VA
$25/$15 Seniors and Students
Playing through June 7th
Reviewed May 23rd, 2009

The Hub Theatre has chosen a contemporary and thought provoking play to kick off the company’s debut season. The set (of course, a Midwest pavilion) is beautifully crafted woodwork. Its spare design (Robbie Hayes) is perfect to showcase this three person show, and the gorgeous lighting (Dan Covey) adds another complete character with its layering and dimension. The sound design (Matt Nielson) gives the impression that the stage is actually water-locked.

The story is simple…a high school reunion that brings together the former “cutest senior couple” after 20 years…Peter, a successful psychologist who has never gotten over the girl he left behind…and Kari…the bitter woman who has never forgiven him. Add to this a narrator who portrays scores of the other classmates in attendance with nothing but a change in posture, voice, and facial expression, and the cast is in place.

Much of the dialogue is poetic and poignant, but doesn’t always fit the characters, which becomes a detriment to the show. The interjection of philosophical lines into more commonplace dialogue is jarring, and brings the audience out of the moment. There are times, particularly in Act II, where the writing is at its best, and both Peter & Kari find the heart of their characters. The theoretical exploration kept the play feeling like a play the entire night, which some might argue was the unique point…and others might not enjoy.

The play moves well with artful direction by Jeremy Skidmore. Tim Getman as Peter gives an especially touching performance…he has a natural delivery and innate charm. Niki Jacobsen has some of the most difficult lines as Kari, and it’s hard to find her likability with the hard shell the playwright has given her. Jacobsen does a lovely job with a later monologue describing her life & marriage since Peter was last in her life. Jason Lott as the Narrator is given a significantly difficult role, and while an extremely talented performer, not all of the impersonations are successful. His standouts include two former classmates in particular: Kent the chief of police, and a cynical minister. His opening monologue as the narrator, where he creates a sensory experience for the audience with words and vocalization a la Tom Wingfield in Glass Menagerie, is captivating.

Overall, Hub Theatre has made a polished splash onto the local professional theatre scene. There’s a lot of good to be found in this show, even if it’s not everyone’s cup of tea.

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