Reviewed by Matt Ritchey
If you mistake Sunbathe in Darkness as the title of a dreary, over-serious, self-important Fringe play by a first-timer, you’d be forgiven. But rest assured, whoever put that production up would soon be ridiculed by way of online fan fiction by Casey, protagonist of Sunbathe in Darkness.
Casey (Sarah Richards) and her friend Isaac (Mitchell Pratt) are high schoolers who wrote a goofy goth knock-off fiction of a popular series – part Harry Potter, part Twilight… you get the idea. Well, soon the fan fiction starts to take off and while Casey becomes an online celebrity, she withdraws farther and farther from her life and society, mishandling familial and personal relationships. But when she’s writing, her world comes to life – literally, as the characters in her hysterical gothic My Chemical Romance-ish fan fiction appear and act out her every word.
Sunbathe is hysterical with a heart. With great performances by the whole cast (Casey Donovan and Juliana LaBarbiera as standouts in multiple roles), the writing and direction just keep moving, bringing big laughs, real pathos, and (for me, at least) a return to some quality emo music. It’s so goofy and ridiculous that you’re almost unprepared for when it gets real, a testament to the writing of Adam Cash and Drew Petriello, who handle the balance well and give the audience a message and something to think about.
….and then you walk out humming “The Black Parade.”
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