I was already smiling shortly after curtain, unable to help myself, the sardonic tone and look of Marty (Finn Snyder) matched every confidence man radio drama and film I grew up absorbing with either my grandmother or my Pa. It was more than nostalgia that had me smiling though; there is just something deliciously decadent about a story dedicated to villains, even those innocent trying to survive life villains, especially if they get their comeuppance in the end. A story about larger than life characters, able to pull off cons left and right; even if the payoff is simply one’s next meal. You can never fully tell where these stories will spin off to, their characters juggling multiple rackets and marks, conning themselves just enough so as to delay revealing to the audience just where the queen is, what the final play is.
Pulling off a constantly changing arc can be dizzying and it takes a strong lead; Dr. King (Jacques Feydont) juggles confidence instilling lines, to doubt sewn undercut asides and wool pulling explanations & fast talk, with a smoothness the measured and opposite to George Scot in the Flim Flam Man. Jacques portrayal had me fully confident that Dr. King alwayse had a way out, or at least thought he had a way out.
Just as a good confidence man spins many plates, Thomas Prosser (Writer/Director) wove many character threads through When Wrong is Right. A quirky pilot in Miss. Anna Preakness played by the energetic Brittney Levine soars through the clouds and her dreams while the others watch, As we watch life & dramas unfold around the players, pulled threads unraveled lay bare before us. The tough guy Shipwreck Shannon (Stephen Loftin) endearingly opening up, but was it just another gimmick? That’s when you find out the truth, not just events data & facts, but truth, the personal truths of the characters. What makes them tick, how will they act, what will they say? Discovering the characters’ lives along the journey might just answer that titular question, at least for the characters if not you personally.
A very character driven story, each of the characters Thomas put forth are interesting, fun, larger than life personas drawing you into their lives bit by bit. If the story and its tone started me off smiling, it was the characters that rounded out my enjoyment. Strong characters are simply a joy to watch brought to life by good actors. You want to see what their next action is; how they’ll mess up or get it right.
For the many smiles I enjoyed, I smiled nearly start through finish, a few scenes feel paced far too slowly. It’s as if the story and characters are so compelling, the scenes wish not to wrap up, move along. Which is true of the characters, portrayed brilliantly, their totality is compelling and you want to see more of them. In part, scene by scene, it can feel at times one is stuck in doldrums on the Atlantic waiting for trade winds to push you forward to the next scene. A line or two trimmed here and there, a bit faster pace on a few scenes can easily prevent that slippage. Finding oneself in a particular scene, emotion, or conversation too long can cause the mind to wander.
As I said though, the totality of the show is quite compelling. It’s one of those shows that can have you tilting your head to the side to confirm that yes the world can be viewed from this angle, and perhapse black and white things are all truly grey. On a case by case situation.
When Wrong is Right at The Eclectic Company Theatre Fridays & Saturdays 8pm Sundays 2pm through May 7th.
For more information please visit www.electictheatre.org