In this blog I review lots of Broadway and Off-Broadway productions. There are many readings and off-off-Broadway shows I attend and they must be addressed sightly differently.
FRIENDLY’S FIRE by John Patrick Bray is just such a developing work. Productions like this are being formed and will hopefully develop into larger environments. This play addresses the extreme PTSD and effects of choices in life and combat made by Guy Friendly played by Matthew Weitz.
In the play he goes through a series of flashbacks and imagined encounters as he works through deep issues. It is energetic and far reaching and full of sturm und drang. The most impressive performance is provided by Adeyinka Adebola, a friend of Guy’s who comes to comfort and try to guide the character through his torturous path. Having to be in the scene and not see all that Friendly faces is balanced beautifully by Mr. Adebola. The entire cast works well and inventively to keep up and swing through different characters. These are largely new faces to me, though I was happy to see Desiree Pinol who has worked in a past production of mine.
The technical credits are first rate for a small productions and the director keeps the evening crackling along. However many themes are hammered overly hard and plot points repeated and lingered on. At nearly two hours with no intermission, it could use some judicious editing, though that is common for a script at this point in development. The resolution seems just a tad bit too easy after all we have experienced. Glad he got it all out of his system.
I would recommend a visit before it closes May 19 to see a script being born and talented performances. Restrooms are down the hall to the right. Go before the production gets started until they can edit it further. It is performed at the 14th Street Y on the east side of town. The producing organization is the Rising Sun Performance Company who are mounting fascinating new works. Check them out at http://www.risingsunnyc.com. Support new theatre in the city.