Playwright Dale Danner explores the relational angst of a salesman. It’s New Year’s Eve, Frank (played by Ryan Kitley) is trying to close an important business deal before midnight. Meanwhile, he also has booked an escort (played by Mary Cross) for the evening. Because she requires cash up front, he is also working on getting a refund on his NYE party tickets. Despite wearing his lucky tie, Frank believes his world is falling a part because his wife ate the last of his lucky cereal.
Although Danner’s set-up sounds like a madcap rom-com, it’s not. It’s actually a drama. The overall tone is somber. Danner wants to create this pinnacle moment in Frank’s life where he chooses between career and marriage. It doesn’t quite work. The stakes don’t seem realistic. What salespeople work on New Year’s Eve? Who gives a $1000 refund on tickets for a party in progress? These absurdities stack up like a comedy. For a drama, they line up too neatly to be believable. Although Act 2 has some poignant messages, Danner’s dialogue gets too wordy and preachy to be natural.
What made this show interesting were Kitley and Cross. Under Tara Branham’s direction, their relationship seemed genuine. Kitley plays it overwrought. Cross tries to seduce him. He’s distracted. She’s annoyed. We see their life together. We feel the tension. Cross, in particular, shows a nice contrast between her evening self and the morning after. She wakes up from the fantasy with grit.
TWISTED KNOTS is marriage material. I imagine couples that see it will have a lively post-show conversation.
Running Time: One hundred minutes includes an intermission
At Royal George, 1641 N. Halsted
Written by Dale Danner
Directed by Tara Branham
Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays at 7:30pm
Sundays at 4pm
Thru June 12th
Buy Tickets at www.theroyalgeorgetheatre.com
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