Friday, February 02, 2007

Escape from Happiness

Theatre Vertigo
Posted by Frenchglen January 18, 2007; closes February 10, 2007

But not from blood. A night of gore, laughs and mystery at home with three (twisted) sisters and a gang of lunatics. Realistic kitchen set the backdrop for an altered reality. As always, Theatre Vertigo’s strengths are their immediacy, close contact with audience and willingness to try anything on stage.


Follow Spot said...

Here are comments about this play that were posted earlier to the catch-all thread:

james said...
Escape From Happiness:

no other company does material like this better. hilarious moments and dedicated lunacy, amidst which Erik James and Yolanda Suarez bring a lovely gravity. never better work from Jennifer Healy. excellent space-altering set from Ben Plont. for my taste, the script doesn’t quite know when to end and pace could occasionally be tightened. that said, a totally enjoyable evening. it’s been too long since i’ve laughed out loud that many times in a performance. and, as gravy, a terrific intermission choice. i recommend it.

1/30/2007 04:55:00 PM
Anonymous said...
You should cover Escape from Happiness. I haven't seen an ensemble work with a set like that ever in Portland. Both ensemble and set are incredible.

1/31/2007 07:56:00 AM
Nicole said...
I also loved Escape From Happiness. Highlights for me were the bloody opening and the collective audience groan when intermission lights came up. The show was solid all around, great work from the ensemble, and DANG, Ben, that set rocked that space. Special thanks to Vertigo for scheduling a Sunday performance, as well. Awful nice of ya.

1/31/2007 11:48:00 AM
David said...
I also had a blast at Escape from Happiness. Kudos, in particular, to Nathan Gale for some of best work--he and Garland Lyons pull off a number of builds, one on top of another, with some wonderful timing--but the whole cast is terrific.

1/31/2007 11:54:00 AM
Ben Waterhouse said...
Ditto on the Escape from Happiness approval. Loved the set, the tension, the whacko plot twists. Too bad Walker couldn't find the exit.

Cecily Overman is my new favorite Portland actor.

1/31/2007 06:45:00 PM
Anonymous said...
Cecily Overman was delectable in Peter Pan, I suppose I will go see it now that she's in it.

1/31/2007 07:56:00 PM
Anonymous said...
Hey Ben, I think she's single now. Your crush calls for a love connection!

2/01/2007 11:44:00 AM
Ben Waterhouse said...
I think my wife might object

2/01/2007 12:03:00 PM
Anonymous said...
Wouldn't that make for great drama? I'd buy tickets to that.

Anonymous said...

This show is hilarious. Cecily Overmann is hilarious. The whole cast is hilarious. The set is fantastic. The play is pretty long... I was exhausted enough after sitting through the whole thing... how did they do it? But this is one show I'll actually recommend to my non-theatre friends, which doesn't always happen in Portland. Congratulations to all.

Anonymous said...

Really? This is what gets lauded around here?

Don't get me wrong - I thought the show had lots of good things going for it. Cecily Overman was phenominal. Garland Lyons and Tom Moorman were amazing. Kerry Silva Ryan was impressive, and in a thankless "straight" role. The set was the best I've seen here in years. But it was hardly a perfect production.

First of all, it was way. too. damn. long. A three hour comedy? Come on! Pick up the pace, people. It's so presumptuous to wallow in your own brilliance at the expense of the audience. (It's no wonder they are having trouble getting people to stay for the late night show - everyone's butt is numb.) Next, the "Fight Choreography" was laughable. In a show with this much violence, why didn't they bring in a real, trained person? The "punches" were so far away from their targets that you could see the air between them. (I actually saw Erik James catch his own fist. I can only suspend my disbelief so far.) The falls were downright dangerous.

As to the rest of the acting - Yolanda Suarez was just flat out not believable (this is strike three - she was the only flaw in "Mutt" and just unwatchable with defunkt earlier this year.) Jennifer Healy was acceptible (barely) as an out-of-control rage maniac, but her earlier scenes as a buttoned-up-control-freak-family-leader fell far from the mark.

The show was ok, but shouldn't we be shooting for something better to heap our praise upon? For all the ripping down that goes on around here, I'd think we'd need something flat-out amazing to impress us.

This wasn't it.

Anonymous said...

While I agree with you regarding the fight choreography, Yolanda Suarez is sublime.