Capital Fringe Review: ‘Rolling By’ by Amanda Gunther

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Rolling By presented by Patchwork Productions is not one of the shows you’ll want to roll on by. It’s actually a fairly decent work in progress. Written by A.R. Lange the show’s central concept is that four people end up stranded on a lifeboat after their cruise ship is ordered to evacuate. And instead of immediate rescue these four people who mostly have nothing to do with each other end up discussing the trials and tribulations of their lives in an unconventional manner which leads them to the debate what if they could start all over again?

It is a play filled with deep subject matter, dark humor, and well posed dialogue. The problem in this case is Director Brett Rudder’s choice of actors for the various roles. Niles (Keith Waters) has the strongest text in regards to developing the situation, delving deep into the tougher subject matters, and delivering the funniest laughs of the show. However, Waters is the weakest actor of the four on stage. His delivery of his lines often feels stifled and his accent is wavering at beast. He’s meant to sound British as indicated by the vernacular of his character’s speech, but he floats around this accent like their boat floats around in the ocean.

Tessa (Allison Aguilar) is perhaps the most underutilized character in the show but Aguilar’s performance is by far superior to her co-stars. She brings a quirky realistic characterization to the character but the character seems to have very little purpose other than someone to circuitously antagonize Mae (Sadie Jonath). Conner (Nick Morgan) has a similar problem as his character is there but without a real purpose. It’s Niles’s character that really drives everything. With a few minor tweaks to the structuring of the characters the show would run flawlessly without characters seeming out of place.

The play is chock full of witty laugh lines and a few pop-culture references that are worth a good dark chuckle. But it ends abruptly and without conclusion. If the play were to be workshopped more thoroughly and revisited with a few casting changes it has excellent potential to be a fantastic show.

Running Time: 50 minutes with no intermission.

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