I normally don’t review KC REP since I like to keep reviews to the smaller venues, but I have to talk about this one.
I lost it while ushering, before it started. I overheard two parents tell their kids “I played the organist in my high school production” and another said “I wanted to play Emily but my friend Susie got the role.” This play is a United States cultural phenomenon. Everyone has had to read it or act in it. (Myself included, I was the milk man.)
This production brings it into modern dialogue, modern dress, and lighting just like what you’d see in a high school gym. The actors are wearing street clothes. This is exactly what our high school productions of Our Town felt like. Simple. No costumes. No accents. Horrible canned lighting. You can see the audience because it’s in a gym. Absolutely nostalgic in the most insane way possible.
Being able to see the audience across the stage was brilliant and also a killer. Couples, parents and kids, friends were all leaning into each other, whispering, and pointing out different parts of the play. This play is familiar to everyone in the audience and they are reminiscing with the show. I could hear a woman next to me whisper to her girlfriend “this is my favorite scene” when Emily and George started talking to each other through the windows. Then, she started to cry. An older gentleman right in the front row on the floor aisle had to take out a handkerchief to wipe his eyes. We were all absolutely losing it.
The ending I can’t reveal to you without ruining the surprise. They’ve done something amazing with it. You have to see this show. This is an event. The audience is 110% with the production, everyone is a mess because they love it, and the ending will absolutely slay you.