Interior dialog

Between A and B: Scenes From Our Apartment

Written and performed by Jill Shely Fleming and Dan Fleming
Music by Matt Cohen
Directed by Passion
The Red Room
85 East 4th Street (between 2nd and 3rd Aves.) 3rd fl.
Non-union production (closes Nov. 20)
Review by Doug DeVita

Who in the world, except for family and friends, would care about the trials and tribulations of an early-middle-aged, transplanted couple of mid-Westerners as they struggle through the first year of their marriage in a tiny, tiny studio apartment on the Lower East Side of New York?

Well, anyone who has ever been in, or even contemplated, contact with another human being, that's who. Jill Shely Fleming and her husband, Dan Fleming, bared their souls with such disarming charm in their wonderfully entertaining, if slight, salute to themselves Between A and B: Scenes From Our Apartment that the universal truths of sharing a life came through with laugh-out-loud recognition. Even such esoteric moments as imitations of in-laws (assumed to be accurate) were howlingly funny -- the archetypes were so perfectly drawn and played it didn't matter that the characters imitated were unknown to the majority of the audience. And when all else failed, they also sang (a sweetly naïve score by Matthew Loren Cohen), danced, and played with alter-ego hand puppets to a much neater effect than it might sound on paper.

The intimate performing space of the Red Room, approximately the same size as the Fleming's sixth-floor walkup, served the couple well -- as staged by Passion and choreographed by John Boy, it was clear that this couple knew how to utilize every bit of space, both personal and physical, to their best advantage. Slides, highly personal and also funny, were used between scenes to comment on what had happened in the previous scene (and what was to come), and there were some nifty lighting effects that simulated split-screen effects. (Technical direction by Josh Vik.) The costumes were most probably shuttled between theatre and apartment before and after each performance.

If there were any cavils with the production, it would have to be with its brevity and abrupt ending -- surprisingly for such a personal showcase, they were a couple who were so endearingly average that they could easily have spun their tale a bit longer and not worn out their welcome.

Box Score:

Writing: 1
Directing: 1
Acting: 2
Sets: 1
Costumes: 1
Lighting/Sound: 1

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Copyright 2002 Doug DeVita