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Cheek (and other stories)

berndt toast players · Ages 16+ · world premiere · United States of America

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Review by PAYDEN ACKERMAN

June 12, 2017 certified reviewer
tagged as: ensemble · hilarious · cheeky

What I liked

Cheek succeeds on the strength of its ensemble. That’s not to say the plays aren’t good; they are! Cleverly written and very funny, they explore relationships at their lighthearted extremes. But the actors play so well off each other it’s simply a thrill to watch them work. Megan Louise Berndt is bewitching as she showcases her emotional range and comedic timing throughout. Rori Flynn’s physicality and electric presence is simply captivating. Zedrick Restauro presents his characters with a wide-eyed understated charm that is irresistible. The frenetic energy and personality this tight ensemble brings to each piece is mesmerizing.

Direction by Afton Saler is skilled and effectively builds comedic moments. The tempo is swift and transitions between the pieces run smoothly. Afton showcases her actors well, and gives them ample opportunity to shine.

Lastly, I have to acknowledge how incredible it is that Cheek will be offering an American Sign Language (ASL) interpreted performance on Saturday 6/17 @ 8:30pm. Got to love inclusive theatre artists! Thank you Cheek!

What I didn't like

With only three plays, the run-time is rather short. I would have liked to see the ensemble tackle a few more!

My overall impression

Cheek (and other stories) is a collection of three short plays featuring quirky characters in atypical situations. The writing is sharp, the direction is deft, but the true stars are the trio of actors who portray all the characters. Their chemistry alone is worth the price of admission.

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