Review: Parkland theatre’s production of “Only You”
“Only You” by Timothy Mason is a funny modern adaption of an old play being brought to life on the Parkland theatre’s second stage until Feb. 18.
Directed by recent Parkland graduate Gennie Applebee and run almost entirely by students, Heather Layman, the production assistant for the theatre department, said the show is wonderful example of students learning the real challenges and rewards of putting on a full production during the talkback session following the first showing.
On the whole, the production was put together very well. Scene changes happened efficiently and with relatively little noise or distraction. Costumes were well made, fitted for characters, and added to fun of each scene. Lighting cues were executed on time and weren’t over the top or distracting.
During the talkback many of the actors said that one of the biggest challenges of the play was staying in character because it is such a humorous play. They must act serious while their fellow actors try their hardest to make them laugh. Everyone did a wonderful job of this, with not one performer breaking character throughout the entire showing.
The play is just as funny as advertised, though it also has deeper, more emotional moments scattered throughout. It dances around some touchy subjects such as one-night stands, catching feelings, cheating, and perpetual loneliness, but does so with grace and humor.
The play begins with Leo, played by Matt Christmas, and Miriam, played by Maya Hammond, in bed. Throughout the play we see the fallout of their one-night stand and subsequent tumultuous relationship. They struggle to define it and figure out what they want, all the while totally missing every social cue the other gives them.
Meanwhile we meet their friends, Heather, played by Zoe Dunn, Bo, played by Jarrod Finn, and Eddie, played by Parker Evans. These friends intermingle with each other and the main characters, forming their own tangle of relationships and confusion.
We are also introduced to a character simply referred to as Big Voice, played by Wesley Bennett, who talks to the characters without showing himself throughout the play, only appearing in person during the last scene. It is never made clear who this character is and if he is a god or not, but in the end he explains what’s happening and it becomes clear what many of the hints and cues dropped throughout the play are culminating to.
The only moment that was slightly off was the intermission, which came immediately following one of the sadder scenes in the play. Intentional or not, it was initially unclear that it was an intermission and not the end of the play. This was confusing at first, but added to the emotions of the scene, making the audience hope that it wasn’t truly over.
Throughout the show there are a few funny musical numbers, including one beloved song that also made an appearance in the movie “Shrek.” During the first song, the protagonist Leo begins to sing and belting out about his woes. His voice is not perfect, but it’s better than most and is real, emotional and relatable.
As the other characters begin to chime in though, the song becomes a funnier number. Each character has their own unique voice and in the case of Heather, Dunn chose to make her character an over the top bad singer. The audience smiled and laughed as Dunn rose her voice to shrieks and dropped it down as low as she could.
Over all, the show was relatable, down-to-Earth, and full of charm.
“Only You” will be playing at Parkland until Feb. 18. Tickets are $10 and can be reserved online at theatre.parkland.edu under “Only You.”