Longing for luxury

Last Day

By Daniel Roberts
Directed by Sam Roberts
Audax Theatre Group
Altered Stages
Equity showcase (closed)
Review by Elias Stimac

Last Day is relentless in its offbeat portrayal of a young man who is obsessively addicted to vacation resorts, to the dismay of his long-suffering girlfriend.

Speaking in an initially humorous but progressively annoying slang, travel buff Jeremy (Michael Hogan) doesn't seem capable of enjoying his stay at an exotic island hotel in the Caribbean. He constantly complains to his not-so-significant other, Maria (Heather Raffo), how the final hours of their vacation are quickly passing, and how great it would be if they could sign up for another week. She reminds him of his precarious position at work and his diminishing savings, but Jeremy doesn't seem to be in touch with reality. His friend Max (Scott Duffy) and the resort manager Mr. Simon (Robert McKay) tolerate Jeremy's antics but can't talk any sense into him either. In the end, the poor guy goes overboard, and gets closer to an emotional breakdown with each bad choice he makes.

Playwright Daniel Roberts has set up some interesting plot twists and supporting characters, but nothing can mask the fact that the main character is a rather unlikable, over-pampered brat. His determination to stay on vacation is simply not credible or commendable. It may be a metaphor of man's constant craving for more out of life, but it's hard to care for someone whose principal characteristic is that he can't control his excessive need for a catered lifestyle. Director Sam Roberts at least kept most of the scenes light and lively, until the central character begins a rapid descent into self-destruction.

As for the acting, the ensemble delivered. Hogan was a solid performer who needed a more believable role. Raffo was sympathetic as the put-upon companion, Duffy made a sly verbal sparring partner, and McKay was the picture of authority as the resort representative. Alexa Zee portrayed a sexy, sassy travel mate of Max's, deftly combining attitude and charm when responding to Jeremy's quirky quips.

The set, by Brad Helm, was miraculous for such a small stage, diminished only by the extended scene changes through its many portals. Graham Kindred expertly captured the afternoon and evening lighting requirements of the script. The comfortable casual wear was provided by costumer Sarah Lambert.

Box Score:

Writing: 1
Directing: 2
Acting: 2
Sets: 2
Costumes: 2

Lighting/Sound: 2