Saturday, June 15, 2019

"The Fit" : ☼ ☼ ☼

At the Opening Night party, author Carey Perloff graciously thanked several friends in the champagne-and-baklava crowd for helping with her newest ending to the show, which she joked was probably the seventy-fifth ending she had tried. If she had polled the theater audience, however, she might have found that seventy-six is a charm. Many of us felt the show is fascinating until the very last second, when the main character takes a turn out of nowhere, while the better conclusion, number seventy-six, is waiting in the hall with her cleaning solutions.

This advice is offered up by one more Reviewer With an Opinion, never a dependable source. Carey Perloff has surely been through this before.

We rooted for Sakina  (Avanthika Srinavasan), as we were supposed to, and despised Paul (Johnny Moreno) and Jeremy (Jeff Kim), also as intended. But when it became clear her goal was to also jump into the greed pool with the rest of them, Sakina lost some underdog luster. Since Paul, the head of the venture capital firm and Sakina’s boss, was so over-the-top phony, gullible and without a redeeming fingernail, and his pathetic assistant Jeremy was the Sarah Sanders of sidekicks, we were left with only Arwen Anderson, as Paul's wife Marcia, to feel hopeful about. Marcia seemed to get it. She remained the consistent voice of sanity in the room, until the puzzling ending.

...that is, except for Ching (Michelle Talgarow). Ching is the true star of the show. Long Live CEO Ching!

The Reuff Theater at A.C.T.'s Strand Complex is small and a difficult space in which to mount a performance with many entrances and exits, but Director Bill English pulled it off. The show is delightful to look at and though its subject matter feels a bit (I hate to say this) commonplace at this point, seeing as we are all coming to accept corporate dishonesty and financial chicanery as a fact of modern life, as something that is supposed to make us smart, not venal, we nonetheless walk out of the show uncomfortable. The ending doesn't pay off because up until then every person on this stage has been in it for him-or-herself. Sadly, this doesn’t surprise us anymore.

RATINGS  ☼ ☼ ☼

The San Francisco Theater Blog Awards Division awards “The Fit” Three Stars. It is a tight and worthwhile production, perfect for a small house like the Reuff. We hope Ms. Perloff is already thinking about the sequel, possibly entitled "Coco Bull," starring CEO Ching.

“The Fit”
The Reuff at A.C.T.'s Strand Theatre
1127 Market Street, San Francisco
Through June 29

PS: For those who have commented to us before that they are uneasy with coming to that section of derelict Market Street at night, we happily report that things have recently been spruced up. You can once again see the decorative cobblestones in front of the theater. We thank those responsible and sincerely hope this continues.

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