Anthony J. Piccione
New York Critic
Few things hurt families more than the sudden and devastating loss of a loved one. The only thing that can make matters worse is when it leads to a falling out between the relatives that are left behind, causing them to remain estranged for a considerably long period of time. It is this type of divide that is explored in a very emotional and in-depth manner in Alex Mace’s new play Catch the Sparrow, a compelling story about the final reunion of an ailing father and his estranged adult son.
Staged in the intimate Theatre 54 at Shetler Studios, the play is written wonderfully, starting off by displaying the current condition of the father’s health before rotating from arguments between the father and son and flashbacks showing what happened prior to the main events of the story. Over the course of the play, there are also several plot twists as well, for the duel purposes of gradually revealing how these two men had a falling out in the first place – which isn’t apparent at the start – as well as showing the continued evolution of their relationship, as the play eventually reaches its climax. From beginning to end, this well-written drama managing to keep the audience focused and wondering how this situation will ultimately end.
A big reason why the play is as engaging as it is has to do with its talented cast. All of the actors in this play succeed in bringing to life characters that are deeply damaged, occasionally humorous, often perhaps relatable, and consistently fascinating to watch. In particular, William Schineller stands out as delivering a poignant and nuanced performance as the father Paul, displaying all the psychological and emotional complexity that you’d expect from a character like him.
By the end of the play and its sudden end, without giving too much away, it was hard not to leave with a sense of bittersweet feelings, while also wondering about what was left behind, and also thinking about all the other families out there, in real-life, who may be dealing with similar situations as these characters did. There are still a few more performances left of this very powerful play, so consider seeing it at Shetler Studios during the last weekend of its run, if you have the chance.
CATCH THE SPARROW
“Catch the Sparrow” stars William Schineller, Melissa Eddy Quilty, Dalton Rayce Fowler, Tyler Joseph, and Meredith M. Sweeney.
“Catch the Sparrow” is written and directed by Alex Mace, featuring stage manager Linda Elizabeth, assistant stage manager Emma Freeman, scenic design by Jennilee Aromando, lighting design by Asa Lipton, costume design by Lindsey Raguette, and press representation and marketing from Broadway Crew.
“Catch the Sparrow” – presented by Isle of Shoals Productions, Inc. – runs at Theatre 54 at Shetler Studios, located at 244 W 54th Street, New York, NY, from November 8th-17th. Run time is approximately 90 minutes plus intermission. For more information, please visit www.catchthesparrowplay.com.