note: entire contents copyright 2012 by Kevin Killavey
Daydream Theater Company's latest production “Subject 62” is warp speed journey through the mind of a young man losing his grip on reality. Brad Kirton gives a Marathon performance as our central character Chris, faced with a mountain of memories and no idea where they belong. We are inside Chris’s mind as he tries to maintain his grip on his memories, and is always drawn towards one woman he can’t place. The woman is Nicole, played brilliantly by Missy Marine, and neither the audience or Chris has any idea how she fits into the puzzle of his life. Searching for that answer his memories fly by in a frantic pace, but as we learn it is not just his quest for the memories: Chris is also looking for a cure.
Chris has a very rare disease, but he can’t even remember where it began or what it is . Kirton does a fantastic job showing the symptoms, twitching and slowly losing control of his body more as the play progresses. However, there is an experiment that may give Chris all the answers he is looking for but if it fails it could mean the end. It is that experiment that we become a part of, we become witnesses to Chris becoming subject 62, and we hope along with him for a cure.
The mastermind of the experiment is Matthew, played by David Adams Murphy, who takes on the role with a mix of Gene Wilder’s Willy Wonka and Johnny Depp’s Mad Hatter. Matthew seems to be in control of the situation, with his pair of Doctors played by Dave Almeida and Melissa Corbett. The Doctors are ice cold and robotic in their somewhat terrifying medical jargon as they lay some serious truth on Chris about the dangers of his disease.
As the experiment begins to take hold Chris is faced with memories of his ex-girlfriend Ellen, played by Elyssa Baldassarri. Elyssa is fresh over her last performance with Daydream as Beth, and she brings the strong will and power of Beth to her character of Ellen. She also mixes in sincere emotion and concern, as well as sharp comic timing and some insanely fast quick costume changes to boot.
Another big part of Chris’s life and seemingly his only other anchor other than the mysterious Nicole is his brother Paul, played by Mathew Clerrico. Clerrico plays a loyal and true brother with emotional honesty and true stillness at times, while also bringing a silly and energetic playfulness to the younger flashbacks. Dan Martin also makes a great appearance as Chris’s ruthless boss. Martin brings an icy coldness to Jack, and delivers his lines in a heartless manner that is so unlike the cheerful and playful demeanor Martin typical brings to his wonderful Stand-up comedy.
Lenny’s writing in this play is on par with two of his other classics dealing with diseases that affect people physically and emotionally. Lenny had a very personal connection to his plays “Squiggy and Goldfish” and “The Scarecrow” which deal with self-mutilation and Anorexia respectively. However with this play Lenny took a cue from a friend of his wife, who lost her father to the debilitating disease the play focuses on. Lenny did his research and it paid off with a very sincere and honest portrait of the effect this disease has on the mind and body.
Lenny also directed the play marvelously, helping weave together an amazing chemistry between his two incredibly strong leading actors Brad Kirton and Missy Marine. Missy has an instant adorability and sweetness that reaches into your heart and commands you feel for her. Kirton has an adorable awkward charm as Chris, as well as quick wits and quick honest emotional shifts throughout the play. Together the two have a warm and endearing chemistry, and the only moments where the show slows down are their sweet and innocent moments together. This moments are like caramel in the middle of the bittersweet rest of the play. Made Bittersweet only by the plays combination of amusing moments as well as dramatic and raw.
Subject 62 is a whirlwind production that takes the audience through a Carousel of different emotions, led by an incredibly strong leading duo. The honest and warm charm between the two leading actors, as well as their true emotional range and believability is reason alone to see this production. Add to that a strong supporting cast and wonderful script led by a fantastic director and you have an must see show.
Subject 62 only has two more performances, this Friday and Saturday April 27th and 28th at Bell Street Chapel (5 Bell Street, Providence RI 02909)
Tickets are available for purchase through Smarttix at www.smarttix.com or you can reserve a seat by calling 401-290-7865.