- OnStage Massachusetts Columnist
In the opening scene of Steven Drukman’s new play “Going To See The Kid”, Ellis tells the audience that every story needs an angle. What she has yet to decide upon, is what angle her story on Red Sox legend Ted Williams will be. The play takes place in 2001 when Ellis and fellow journalist Simon, both from The Boston Globe, head out on a road trip from Boston to Florida to interview the ailing Ted Williams. The pair couldn’t be more different, and yet as their trip progresses they discover the value of empathy and teamwork.
Directed by MRT’s Director of New Play Development, Alexander Greenfield, this cast consists of three MRT audience favorites who each have the natural ability to bring their characters to life in an interesting and believable way that instantly engages the audience. From the start we see their spirit, drive, passions and what makes them tick. All while chuckling at their feisty interactions. Dialect Coach Christine Hamel worked with the actors to authentically use specific accents. Veronika Duerr, as Ellis, spoke with the all too familiar Boston accent; making it clear to the audience her character was born and bred here.
Both Joel Colodner and John Gregorio portrayed multiple characters, each with their own specific vocalization and flare. Their main characters of Simon (Colodner) and David (Gregorio) were more refined in their speech, and the way their speech differed from Ellis (Duerr) was intriguing to listen to. Each of them portrayed their characters wonderfully. Ellis was relatable, spunky and exhibited ultimate Red Sox fan passion; especially when relaying stats about her beloved team. Duerr’s portrayal was multilayered and evolved during the play. She wasn’t just a journalist who loved baseball, but also an educated woman trying to be a better wife and daughter. Simon was an older, wiser, more dignified journalist who spoke fervently about the arts and literature. His excitement regarding the Red Sox was more subdued and internal; especially when compared to Ellis. Colodner was polished and portrayed Simon as a wise mentor of sorts. David, Ellis’ husband, joins the pair on the road trip to Florida and is often a buffer when Ellis and Simon don’t see eye to eye; which is most of the time. Watching Gregorio portray David, in addition to a few other secondary characters, was fascinating as each had his own accent and mannerisms that completely separated him from Gregorio’s portrayal of the loving and supportive David.
Designed by Jason Sherwood, the set consisted of actual news stories from The Boston Globe printed on plexiglass boxes that were lit with LED lights that changed color depending on the scene. At some points they were all lit up while at other points only a small section was lit while the rest was dark. Lighting Designer Brian J. Lilienthal was creative in how he used the light to exemplify or hide sections of the set. Both elements complimented each other nicely and were visually appealing. The addition of falling snow in the last scene really added to the holiday aspect of the production. It was enchanting while not distracting or overdone.
Written by lifelong Red Sox fan Steven Drukman, this play is a different kind of holiday show. Its spirit and message of hopefulness and the power of teamwork reminds us there is nothing that can bring people together like the shared love of their favorite sports team. At only ninety minutes this heartwarming comedy is the perfect show to bring your Red Sox loving family and friends to see this holiday season. If opening night of this world premiere is any indication, and considering how fast the audience was on their feet giving the performance a standing ovation, this show will sell fast so don’t wait to get your tickets. © “Going To See The Kid” is on stage at Merrimack Repertory Theatre (50 E. Merrimack St. Lowell, MA) until December 24th. Tickets range from $70-$26 and there are discounts for seniors, students, military and groups. To purchase tickets or find more information visit www.mrt.org or call 978-654-4678.
Photo Credit: (L-R) Joel Colodner, Veronika Duerr, John Gregorio. Photo by Meghan Moore.
For more of my reviews and theatrical thoughts check out: http://intheatresome1isalwayswatching.blogspot.com/