- OnStage New York Critic
During the first act of In The Event of My Death, I had a feeling that I am reading somebody else’s Facebook feed and I am increasingly losing interest in it. Now the grown up high school friends and acquaintances are assembling for an informal mourning of their friend Freddy, who committed suicide. We newer see Freddy and never get a chance to sympathies with him - the situation is as awkward as being at the funeral of somebody you didn’t know.
Unfortunately none of the former schoolmates, written by Lindsay Joy, are particularly interesting. Peter (John Racioppo) lives in his parents’ house, works for his dad, and is considered a loser by his friends. Amber (Lisa Jill Anderson) is a chubby misfit seeking confidence in drugs. Becky (Samantha Strelitz) is a prom queen, who used to treat everybody badly and now is hated by the group, except for Peter because they are dating now. Trevor is a gay guy. Conner works in advertising in New York.
Direction of Padraic Lillis often gets trapped in stereotypes as well. Scenic design, by Doss Freel, featured a boring living room with highly organized, and therefore artificial, looking mess in the beginning. The set had a nice addition, a porch, where the action took place sometimes. Movement in the living room was frozen for the duration of the porch scenes, which was an interesting director’s choice but didn’t quite land. With flat jokes, clichéd sentiments and endless gossip about two-dimensional people who you don’t care about, I barely made it through the first act.
The intermission was presented like a TV commercial with act one ending on a sudden appearance of two sisters and the girlfriend (Breanna Foister) of Freddy, interrupting the gang’s wild dancing. Act two picked up from the same moment and finally the show got some fresh air. As we learn more about Freddy’s older sister Meg (Lillith Fallon) and his twin sister Kate (Kara Young), the complicated family dynamics makes the show much more interesting.
In The Event of My Death runs through August 21st at IRT Theater (154 Christopher Street, third floor) with performances Wednesday through Friday at 7pm, Saturday at 3pm & 7pm, Sunday at 3pm, and Monday at 7pm. Tickets ($18; $20 at the door) are available online at www.stablecablelabco.org or by calling Brown Paper Tickets 1-800-838-3006.