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a Comedy
by Peter Sinn Nachtrieb

COMPANY : Aurora Theatre [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Aurora Theatre [WEBSITE]
ID# 4412

SHOWING : January 17, 2013 - February 10, 2013



It is said that Bob was born on Valentine’s Day in the bathroom of a White Castle Restaurant in Kentucky. It is said that Bob’s birth mother Helen had a particular loneliness on this holiday that only a certain greasy cuisine could soothe. Armed with nothing but unfailing optimism, Bob is the epic, fast-paced comedy of one man’s dream to be great. The greatness of Bob.

Director Sean Daniels
Chorus #1 Veronika Duerr
Chorus #3 Wendy Melkonian
Chorus #4 Doyle Reynolds
Bob Dan Triandaflo
Chorus #2 Scott Warren
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A Life in Five Acts and One Intermission
by playgoer
Sunday, January 20, 2013
"Bob" tells the story of foundling Bob from birth to old age, using a chorus of four actors to portray all the characters (and animals) surrounding him as his adventurous life unfolds. There's a bit of magical realism and a lot of quirkiness. The point of the plot seems to be that one person can affect the lives of many others, sometimes in ways that person would never imagine. The point of the play seems to be lots of fun.

The ensemble of Veronika Duerr, Scott Warren, Wendy Melkonian, and Doyle Reynolds slip into and out of characters with ease, bringing lots of energy and variety to the action. Dan Triandiflou plays Bob throughout, doing a nice job of suggesting different ages and delineating the shifting philosophies of Bob's life. And he offers as much beefcake as "Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson" does.

The action plays out in front of (and sometimes inside) a giant set of the letters "BOb" that sparkle with arcade lights, with twinkling swirls of lights behind. Set designer Michael B. Raiford and lighting designer Mike Post have combined efforts to make a shimmering sideshow of a set. Sound designer Matt Callahan adds to the effect with pre-show and intermission music of a carnival calliope, with carnival crowd sounds piped in. There's also a neat microphone effect as a White Castle employee makes an announcement. All in all, the design team has done a bang-up job on "Bob."

Director Sean Daniels has also done a bang-up job. The show flows smoothly, and all the actors are shown up to advantage. Act one ends with ominous music and a suddenly serious, cynical speech by Bob that lets us know the light tone of act one will deepen a bit in act two, although always in humorous ways. The director ensures that the tone of the show never strays far from where it needs to be.

Not everything in the show works. There are special song and dance spots that are done in a consciously hammy way and do nothing but interrupt the action for thirty seconds or so. The hurdy-gurdy that accompanies them is superfluous, given that the pre-show music has already set a carnival atmosphere. Costumes by Alan Yeong are generally dowdy (in a probably conscious way), with the only remarkable piece being a fur-trimmed ringmaster jacket Bob wears near the end.

Playwright Peter Sinn Nachtrieb has tied up all the seemingly unrelated plot threads by the end of his show, and it's the gradual revelations of Bob's history that keep interest. The show is perhaps a tad too long in the section leading up to the intermission, but otherwise it's a sheer delight. Give in to its quirky world view and you'll have a terrific time with "Bob." [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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