Editor’s note: The Festival of Independent Theatres opened this past weekend and picks up again tomorrow night with the two shows reviewed here. See Dallas Voice on Friday for full reviews of all the plays that have been presented so far.
An audience fave from FIT 2007, Matt Lyle’s silent-film-onstage The Boxer is back with its original cast of Bootstraps Comedy Theater darlings, including onstage keyboard whiz B. Wolf and percussion/strings/sound-effects master Johnny Sequenzia. Like a live-action Buster Keaton comedy, this hour of light pantomimed-to-music storytelling finds a Depression-era down-and-outer (Kim Lyle) pretending to be a man so she can fight-coach a bantamweight pugilist (Jeff Swearingen) in his face-off with a brute (Ben Bryant). Punctuated with perfectly timed physical shtick and black-and-white “training montage” bits (from a decade ago but the actors haven’t changed much, darn them), The Boxer is still a comedy knockout. Performed July 20 at 8 p.m., July 28 at 8 p.m., Aug. 3 at 8 p.m.
WingSpan Theatre Company director Susan Sargeant has a thing for Edward Albee. She just gets his plays and insists that we should, too. With Finding the Sun, a rarely-produced 1983 Albee one-act set on the beach, we’re almost convinced there’s something to love about obtuse, interwoven conversations among four troubled couples. Two of the women (Robin Clayton, Catherine DuBoard, both excellent) are married to gay men (Matthew Stepanek, Ian Mead Moore) who’d rather be with each other. An older cxouple (Ethel Stephens, Jerry Crow) are facing mortality with bitter resignation. A mother (Charlotte Akin) contends with a sexually precocious teenage son (the terrific David Helms). Back and forth they go, playing verbal beachball (sometimes with a real beachball) full of Albee’s dark wit on the topics of love and aging, illuminated in the yellow glow of the searing summer sun. Performed July 20 at 8 p.m., July 29 and July 30 at 5 p.m., Aug. 4 at 8 p.m.
— Elaine Liner