* * * (3 Stars)
A “Seriously Joyous” Play
Go ahead. Step out of your comfort zone. This is not your typical proscenium-and-footlights stage show. Even Nigel O’Hearn, Artistic Director for the one-year-old Palindrome Theatre (mostly St. Ed’s U. students or recent grads) admits “Melancholy” is “not a perfect play.” But it is strangely engaging with its choral musical tactic – characters singing and talking in unison — and subtitle messages (“Defense of Melancholy” projected on the back wall. Even Matthew Hines, the Composer/Musical Director who also plays Julian, distracts and draws our attention to his lofty perch with his rotating guitars and record player.
There’s a lot to like here, and not just the familiar Austin Playhouse stage with seating on three sides. The play’s pacing helped by the interchangeable set parts, almost like an on-stage transformer, moving audience from scene-to scene, and the sharply drawn characters and their competitiveness for the sad/happy Tilly, so well portrayed by Helyn Rain Messenger. Continue reading