Monday, August 4, 2014

Fringe Festival: "Failure: A Love Story"

Day: 4

Show: 12

Category: Comedy

By: Campbell Productions

Written by: Philip Dawkins

Location: Illusion Theater

Summary: A love story about a family consisting of three doomed sisters, their adopted brother (who may or may not be in love with them), and the charming young man they all loved.

Highlights: It's the late '20s and the Fail sisters are going to die. That much we know, but watching it all unfold is a series of delightful and heartbreaking surprises. "Comedy" is not a big enough word to describe what this show is. Director Joshua James Campbell and this beautiful eight-person cast have created the perfect tone for the show, walking that delicate line between lighthearted quirky comedy and heartbreaking and heartwarming love story. I'm not going to divulge any plot details so as not to spoil the joy of discovery, but suffice it to say, there are talking animals, epic swims, anthropomorphized clocks, charming ukulele music, tragic untimely deaths, and unexpected love. The lovely Fail sisters are Su Yoon Ko as the practical oldest sister who runs the family clock shop, Andrea San Miguel as the spunky athletic middle sister, and Emily Madigan as the fun-loving baby. As their brother John N. who's "not good with people" and watches all of his beloved sisters die, Sean Dillon has the perfect hangdog expression hiding depths of feeling. The talented Nathan Barlow is charming as the man all of the sisters love, the great Kim Kivens and Charles Fraser embody everyone from the Fail parents to animals to clocks, and last but not least, Revay Henneman as a living gramophone provides a perfect soundtrack with period songs on the ukulele. This show is everything I want from a Fringe show, really everything I want from theater: funny, quirky, whimsical, musical, poignant, touching, surprising, moving, and utterly heartbreaking. Am I the only one who was reduced to a weepy mess at the end of this show? It just touched me so deeply in so many ways with its true and beautiful depiction of love in its many forms. "Just because something ends doesn't mean it wasn't successful." If I didn't have a few dozen other shows I need to see this week, I would go see this one again. Friends - do not miss this show.