by Tracey Paleo, Gia On The Move
“The World is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.” ~W.B. Yeats
Touching upon a spectrum of emotions and complicated human relationships, Almost, Maine now playing at the Hudson Mainstage Theatre is loaded with plenty of spunk. Developed by the Cape Cod Theatre Project in 2002 the show had an Off-Broadway run in 2006, played to critical acclaim and sold-out houses in 2010 at Portland Stage Company and comes to Los Angeles with a stellar cast, crew and writer/director team.
It’s a fast moving night in the snowy town of Almost — a town that’s so far north, it’s almost not in the United States – it’s almost Canada. And it almost doesn’t exist. Because its citizens never got around to getting organized. So, it’s just…Almost.
Love is confusing and on one cold, clear Friday night in the middle of winter, while the northern lights hover in the sky above, amore goes haywire. Almost’s inhabitants find themselves falling in and out of love, in the strangest ways.
As a series of literal and figurative, lightly connected vignettes, we go on a journey with the residents of Almost as they quite ridiculously in most cases, work out difficult, even forbidden moments with respective girlfriends, boyfriends, spouses, exes and friends. The overarching theme of Almost, Maine is “lost and found love”, or something like it in any case, and although there are some lively gags, it’s not always sweet. Following a chirpy first act, the second act almost turns somber, but is saved by a high-spirited reprieve as the story eventually and energetically revs full circle for a contented, if not absolutely joyous ending.
Almost, Maine is neatly written and entertaining, sincere and as thoroughly silly as it gets in the comedic love arena. Nine couples work their way in and out of enchantments, affections and crushes, turning the idea of love upside down at times with outrageous accusations, confessions and revelations that are poignant as much as they are funny.
Don’t pass up this offering if you can help it. The laughs and giggles are well worth the ticket price and time spent in the seat. Each and every cast member brings their A-game, vulnerability and range to every moment of this show without exception. All other elements from lighting to costume to scenery are completely complimentary.
The play is filled with with quirks, surprises and hilarity in the very human quest for connection. Better than ‘almost’. Almost, Maine is perfect!”
Playwright John Cariani
Directed by Martin Papazian
Scenic Designer Joseph Hodges
Sound Design by D.J. Moosekian
Produced by Martin Papazian, Christopher Armitrano, Peter Breitmayer & Pumpkin Eater Productions
Featuring: Allison Tolman, Peter Breitmayer, Alex Desert, Marina Benedict, Martin Papazian, Presciliana Esparolini, Samantha Sloyan, Dan Warner, Lester Purry, Nell Teare, Laura Marie Steigers, Tyne Stecklein, Misa Moosekian, Devin Crittenden, Travis Myers, John Lacy, Steve Fite, Casey Sullivan, and Ana Lucasey
Photo (above) by Dan Warner Photography: They Fell Cast: John Lacy and Travis Myers