Untethered Theatre Company is a funny little group. They are drawn to the quirky, the dark, and the unusual – yet the pieces they produce tend to be grounded in stark reality. WHERE EDWARD WENT, an original piece by company member Ben Dudley and Adam Sievering, fits the bill. It’s the story of a documentarian named “Denny” played by Dudley who is making a film about love. He’s enlisted the help of his roommates “Edward” (Aaron Maas) and “Elyse” (Mary Kate Moran) but it seems that Denny might have more of an agenda than even he wishes.
Edward and Elyse are in love; well, they are engaged anyway. So why does Edward insist on talking about his first love, Rachel, and not his fiancee? And why does Elyse want to talk about her parents relationship instead of her own? It might have something to do with the fact that Edward is dead. Or it might be because he’s an arrogant, self-indulgent creep. Or perhaps its because Denny and Elyse have a repressed crush on each other. We never do fully find out.
Edward says he doesn’t want to talk about this present relationship because “its not finished yet.” That is sorta how I feel about the play.
Oh, don’t get me wrong, I think its smarty written and mostly well acted. There’s some very funny lines, as you might expect from Dudley who dabbles as a stand up comedian. His awkwardness is his trademark, though I always get the feeling he is a little more sly than he wants anyone to know. Maas has a big presence; opening night nerves though might be have been the culprit in his slurred lines and rapid speech. When he’s relaxed, though, he’s hard to take your eyes off of. Moran is one of my favorite “every girl” actresses in town. She is nice; her best characters are the girl-next-door. Kinda plain, kinda average, prettier than she knows. Always likable. (Though her turn as the brother-obsessed sister in THE HOUSE OF YES was pretty great!) I get the feeling that she knows who she is as an actress and she brings a level of professionalism to this 45-minute play that helped gel the performances together.
Carter Bratton is the director. I liked his staging and the way he used the stage (the show is set in a basement, which is literally where Untethered’s regular season shows take place), the video, and the lighting to set a tone. I think this is a great start to what could turn into a brilliant 90 minute story. I hope that Dudley and Sivering continue to hammer out the narrative as this is a very good start. Fringe is a great place to test out ideas, to pilot plays. I wanted more from this story and from these characters and isn’t that the point? It’s on my recommendation list. Perhaps we’ll see a longer, more satisfying version produced in the basement on Ludlow someday.
WHERE EDWARD WENT runs again on Sunday, June 1 at 7:45 PM, Tuesday, June 3 at 7:15 PM, Thursday, June 5 at 7:00 PM, and
Saturday, June 7 at 3:15 PM at the Art Academy of Cincinnati in the auditorium.