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TheatreLAB See Jane Quit

By • Dec 14th, 2013 • Category: Reviews, Virginia
See Jane Quit
TheatreLAB: (Info) (Web)
RVA Event Space, Richmond, VA
Through December 15th
1:50 with intermission
$25/$20 Seniors/$15 students (Plus Fees, Discounts Available)
Reviewed December 13th, 2013

Having grown up learning to read in the “Fun With Dick and Jane” generation I kind of started out with the expectation that See Jane Quit would be a little bit silly. I was wrong — it was really, really silly…and I loved it for that.

As TheatreLAB’s Artistic Director Deejay Gray points out in the introduction; See Jane Quit has the feel of a corny sitcom. Jane (Maggie Bavolack at her comedic finest) is a waitress who is about to turn 30. Jane has decided for various reasons to quit smoking. However, the four primary people in her life; her brother James (Adam Powell Mincks) and his wife Diane (Louise Mason), her grandmother Bessie (Linda Beringer) and her romantic interest Charles (Chandler Hubbard) all have secrets they don’t want Jane to know for fear of stressing her out and causing her to go back to smoking.

In true sitcom style, the web of lies eventually unravels as the laughter builds to an initial climax at the end of Act 1 (which runs almost exactly one hour much like soap opera dramedies like “Ugly Betty”). Act 2 (which runs about 30 minutes, like a traditional sitcom) has a few more twists and turns and misplays that wrap up in a nice neat little gosh shucks, all is well with the world resolution.

TheatreLAB achieves their mission in presenting a young emerging playwright like Beth Kander. The script is tight and entertaining and director Melissa Rayford keeps the action frenetic and captivating. Rayford, who is also the Scenic Designer, takes a large empty room at RVA Event Space on East 4th Street and creates two intimate living spaces; where the audience sits on opposing ends, with the actors literally inches away (and yes, I even enjoyed being flipped off by Jane!)

I know I am never supposed to admit this, but I have read other reviews of this production where one or two of the actors have been singled out for their outstanding performances. Honestly, I felt all five were perfectly cast; and all five worked effortlessly together creating believable characters who truly connected, making the comedic moments work even better. With a script like this, the performers could have easily tried to be over the top, but instead kept the characters much like people we all know — not caricatures.

Ryan Allen’s costumes fit the characters well (although, without revealing too much, one character’s dress fit a bit too well).

With so many top quality shows running in Richmond right now, it could be easy to overlook See Jane Quit. With only two shows left, I would encourage you, however, to find your way to this out-of-the-way space and find out for yourself whether you get to See Jane Quit.

Disclaimer: TheatreLab provided two complimentary media tickets to ShowBizRadio for this review.

This article can be linked to as: http://showbizradio.com/go/9853.

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