Broken Nose Theatre presents the world premiere of BEAUTIFUL BROKEN. Paul is haunted by a ghost. Bridgette is haunted by her past. Onstage is the story of “Romeo & Juliet.” Backstage is the story of Paul & Bridgette. This is a play about the relationships that happen in a theatre company once the acting stops. BEAUTIFUL BROKEN is a fine and frothy romance.
Playwright Benjamin Brownson penned a script that could easily translate to a rom-com movie for 20somethings. The premise is a personal glimpse into the inner-workings of a theatre company. The behind-the-scenes relationships are the typical boy gets girl or actor gets house manager scenarios. Although the dialogue is witty, the set-ups lean toward the cliche. The person behind me continually vocalized what was going to happen next. Her assessment was unnecessary because I could anticipate exactly where the stories were headed.
Overall BEAUTIFUL BROKEN is cute! As the cast fall in love with each other, we fall in love with them. At the beginning, we want the happy ending. We want a big love-fest. Somewhere mid second act, we are ready for an ending, happy or not. Under the direction of Thomas Murray, the cast charms but the scenes drag. In the U-shaped theatre, Murray reserves the center theatre seats for the actors. The audience are on the right and left side. Using the full stage and that section of seats, Murray strings the action out. Some of the intimacy is lost in the expansive space. And as actors continually pace the rows under the guise of picking up programs, the pacing gets real sluggish. I keep thinking ‘tidy up later and get on with the show.‘
These actors playing people who are actors are believable. It’s easy to imagine we are watching the rise and fall of real relationships within the theatre community. At the heart of the show, Bradford Lund (Paul) and Leslie Ruettiger (Bridgette) try to overcome individual issues on the road to couplehood. Their relationship has a normal balance of polite introduction and omission. The other courtship is the especially adorable wooing of Catherine Bullard (Julie) by Michael Bullaro (Matt). In two split-scenes, their overlapping conversations were hysterical. And Spenser Davis (Alex) endears with odd-man-out-goofy-amicability.
BEAUTIFUL BROKEN is simply light, lovely ... and long.
Running Time: Two hours and thirty minutes includes an intermission
At the Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N. Lincoln
Written by Benjamin Brownson
Directed by Thomas Murray
Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm
Sundays at 3pm and 7pm
Thru April 21st
Buy Tickets at www.greenhousetheater.org
Photo by Sarah A. Wika