DRAMA; 1hr 30min
STARRING: Sam Bardwell, Kelsey McMahon
Strum und Drang: Bardwell
“Everyone thinks they are made for something great,” disgruntled wife Lauren (Christine Weber) snaps at her forbearing husband, John (Bardwell), in a couples’ therapy session that is so not going well. “But you know what? It’s bullshit because somebody has to work in a cubicle!” True, that, only John isn’t looking like that somebody. Construction worker by day, balladeer by night, John has the soul of a poet, and when he connects with ace talent agent Kat (a fiercely endearing McMahon) in a bar, recognition is on the horizon after years of no-count gigs.
There’s a serious catch right off the bat: Kat is a square-peg rover who wants John on the road with her — no easy ask for a stand-up husband with an angelic little daughter (Naomi Bardwell), yet arguably a no-brainer when his wife is as miserable as Lauren and the fastest way to never have a shot is to refuse to take one. Throwing caution and construction to the winds, John takes off.
There is usually no doubting the outcome of a story whose raison d’être seems to be a happy ending. This time out, though, the play is unexpected: John and Kat’s wintry road trip and deepening relationship may well take him to a place he needs to be, but first-time director Tim Dahlseid and writer Susan Brightbill have more faceted plans for their two travellers. Between irresistible musical beats, their road is peppered with rough patches that see the newfound couple testing inner limits. If creative talent is equal parts blessing and curse, chasing a dream can be its own danger zone.