Thursday, April 12, 2012

"Any Given Day" ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ! BANG!

After last night's American Premiere of Linda McLean's "Any Given Day," which had absolutely blown us away -- in fact, the audience never moved after the lights came back on, something we have never seen before at Magic Theatre -- the playwrights, actors, creative team and critics all gathered in the theater bar. All of a sudden, the buzz was about "the secret question" -- we'll just say there is one relationship within the two-story play that is undefined. When we asked Linda McLean about it she just said: "It's up to you. Take it however you want to."

So that's what we're doing. The show is brilliant, no matter how you slice it. These performances are a block past normal. They will stick with you for a long time.

The first half of the eighty-minute one act show features the astonishing Amy Kossow as Sadie and the equally brilliant Christopher McHale as Bill. Speaking in Scots dialect, these two characters are mentally challenged but amazingly communicative. Sadie's laugh makes us smile. Her sadness hits us in the gut. Bill's bantering with her shows a love that defies his words. But look out for the ending.

In the second half (separated by a total scene change camouflaged by Michael Locher's inspired wall of water), Stacy Ross is spellbinding as Jackie, a mom teetering on the edge of self-control, who is working in a bar owned by Dave (James Carpenter). We watch through fifteen minutes, as this relationship begins to explain itself, and then all of a sudden we realize Jackie is -- well, she's Jackie! Jackie! Remember in the first part? Jackie? Holy mackerel!

When the stories fit together it is playwriting at its best. It is a plus that we never know exactly what happens. "Any Given Day" will have you on the edge of your seat. You won't want to get up when the lights come on.

RATINGS: ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ! BANG!
The San Francisco Theater Blog Awards Division wants to give "Any Given Day" Five Stars, but it can't, because...because...well just because. It's a small one-acter. There is no "Oklahoma!" or "Dancing Queen" or "Ease on Down the Road." Director Jon Tracy said it all came together on Opening Night. It certainly did.

So we are awarding Four Stars with an Exclamation Point and a BANGLE OF PRAISE: One star for each acting performance (including Patrick Alarpone's small but vital role in Part One), with an Exclamation Point for the creative team and writer. We are also giving Christopher McHale and Amy Kossow their own extra-special BANGLE. You will see why.

If you want to study acting, come. If you love interesting, involving theater that you can mull over when you go home, come. Just don't miss "Any Given Day."

"Any Given Day"
Magic Theatre
Fort Mason, Building D, Marina and Buchanan Streets, San Francisco
EXTENDED through April 29

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