Ligature Marks (Critic's Pick)

Gideon Productions (Astoria, N.Y.)

Critic's Pick

Ligature Marks kicks off my lineup for the 2014 Cincinnati Fringe 2014. I’m thrilled to say that it’s worth your consideration, the perfect Fringe show. Two characters seamlessly playing multiple roles, a spare set, goofy background music and a well-crafted script by Mac Rogers all combine for weird entertainment.

The story covers two limited losers who fall into the void of a multi-player web game, Noir, less a detective slant and more a simple story of losers caught in a downward cycle with only death as the inevitable result. Being a noir play, death means “mostly dead,” as the character is resurrected as a homeless beggar near the end of the show.

The acting of playwright Mac Rogers as Terry and Rebecca Comtois as Jill is good throughout the performance. Terry is a self-proclaimed deadbeat who simply wants to play Noir, living in that abstract world rather than facing reality. After leaving prison, he is on his way to Colorado, but his ex-girlfriend Jill takes him in after she agrees to upgrade her cable web connection so he can play Noir. Jill is nuts for Terry, but he is so transparent (and mean to her), their relationship seems doomed. The influence of Noir, however, creates a novel trajectory for their relationship that is dark, funny and perfectly “fringy.”

Comtois plays several characters. You root for her as Jill because she has a puppy-dog kind of love for Terry, regardless of his flaws and aloofness. She is a loyal friend, all the way to the end.

This is a well-done production. For all its dark noir themes, you feel pretty good when it’s over.

LIGATURE MARKS by Gideon Productions (Astoria, N.Y.) will be performed 7 p.m. May 30, 3 p.m. June 1 and 7 p.m. June 3 at Art Academy Commons (1212 Jackson St., Over-the-Rhine).

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