A Red Orchid Theatre presents the Chicago Premiere of MUD BLUE SKY.
I love smart comedies, strong female characters and powerful storytelling. Red Orchid’s newest production is my trifecta.
The play’s premise sounds like a set up for a joke: three flight attendants meet up in a hotel room. The first one goes out for pot. The second one goes out for pancakes. The third one goes out for cognac… ba-dum ching!
And MUD BLUE SKY is one liner after one liner hysterical. Yet, Playwright Marisa Wegrzyn doesn’t stop with the comedy. She uses her witty dialogue as a tool to dig deeper. These gals banter about nothing and everything. Wegrzyn gives them both humorous quips and heartfelt insight. The glamorous facade of the life of a flight attendant is shattered. As these women get stoned, truth spills out all over their Bravo-less hotel room.
Under the masterful direction of Shade Murray, this sublime ensemble soars. Murray paces it perfectly. He lets the intricate details of the people and their stories authentically evolve. In the opening scene, Natalie West (Beth) silently performs a ritual screening of her hotel room. The amusement has started! Her paranoia of germs and intruders is palpable. A zany Mierka Girten (Sam) bursts into West’s quiet zone. The steady West and effervescent Girten talk in seasoned co-worker shorthand. Their genuine repartee is riddled with the gossip and barbs of a lengthy relationship.
This play is based on the strength of relations both fictitiously and in reality. West, Girten and Kristen Fitzgerald (Angie) were directed by Murray in Red O’s previous blockbuster comedy “Abigail’s Party.” The foursome return for more boozy, boisterous revelations in MUD BLUE SKY. Fitzgerald’s role is small but poignant. At one point, she tells this story about having a drink with a customer. It starts out funny, shifts into heartbreaking and finishes evocatively. I laughed. I cried. I shivered…all within the span of her 5 minute narration.
Matt Farabee (Jonathan) lingers on the fringe of this hen party. He tips back and forth between surly teen and guileless boy. Farabee is a charmer. His adolescent dreams force the ladies to face their own deteriorating careers, looks, health, and relationships.
I’ve always imagined flight attendants are chic, jet-setters. I now realize they are the servants to the jet-setters. Wegrzyn illustrates the untold story. We learn what happens to stews after the wheels come down.
MUD BLUE SKY is a hoot! I haven’t laughed that much in a long time. This is the only Spring Break ticket required in the aftermath of the winter blues.
Running Time is eighty-five minutes with no intermission
At A Red Orchid Theatre, 1531 N. Wells
Written by Marisa Wegrzyn
Directed by Shade Murray
Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays at 8pm
Saturdays at 4pm (beginning May 3rd)
Sundays at 3pm
EXTENDED Thru June 29th
Buy Tickets at www.aredorchidtheatre.org
Production photo by Michael Brosilow