If Would You Rather… issued a warning label for real life situations it would read: Beware of elaborate questionnaires and their accompanying release forms. The play takes you into a swirling adventure yarn that is equal parts comedic romp and exploration of personal choice. TMD Theater’s production is a fun and charming magical realist escape that doesn’t skimp on character development.
The three main characters, Zelda, Jade, and Fred, are going about their particular lives at a local coffee shop, when each one is separately recruited by the mysterious Gin Bambean to attend her immersive piñata party taking place that night at the You Know Who You Are Bar. When the three arrive at the party, Gin has them each fill out a lengthy questionnaire that will help her make some kind of speed-dating match among the partiers for unspecified escapades to come.
When the questionnaires are complete, they toast their accomplishment with a special cocktail provided by their host called “The Struggle Bus.” The next thing they know, they wake up on a deserted island where all the answers they gave on the questionnaire become more important than any of them realized. They’ll have to learn a lot more about themselves and each other if hope to find a way off the island.
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After a bumpy beginning, Would You Rather… really finds its feet during the action on the deserted island, deftly serving screwball comedy and vulnerable moments of introspection. Dara A. Gold’s dialogue is engaging and the more fantastical elements of the plot don’t overshadow the burgeoning relationships between the characters. Which is great, because those relationships offer some of the funniest and sweetest moments in the play.
Would You Rather… ends July 27, 2019 Details and tickets
The cast is adorable, fully committed to the world of the play, and genuinely seems to be having a great time up on stage. Madeline Lomvardias as Zelda and Italia Calino as Jade give the standout performances of the show, with Lomvardias’ anxious and explosive energy well balanced by Calino’s warm and relaxed charisma.
The production makes the most of their spare sets, deploying strategic scenic elements and putting background projections to good use to evoke a range of locations, including a dance club, a fortune teller’s tent, and a cavern. The sound design is a bit of a mixed bag, with a handful of the effects feeling jarring, while the atmospheric sounds and the voiceover sections work well and enhance
Would You Rather… offers a delightful adventure of love, choices, and connection with others, while reminding us to make sure to always read the fine print.