Reviewed by Paula Citron
New theatre initiatives are risky because first impressions are crucial. Happily, Little Tiny Things Productions has a success with John Cariani’s charming off-Broadway hit Almost, Maine. Word of mouth is bringing in the crowds.
First, the six-member cast is very talented and uncommonly good-looking. Actor Mike Lobel is a stand-out. Then there is Cariani’s delightfully whimsical and endearingly quirky play about romance among a group of friends in the mythical town of Almost, Maine. The reason it’s called Almost, is that the city fathers never organized themselves to officially incorporate.
Almost is filled with eccentric twentysomethings, and we are introduced to nine different couples played by the six actors. They are the working class kids who never went to college and never left home.
Cariani uses the technique of magic realism to heighten both the humour and the pathos. The second act is punchier, but still maintains Cariani’s surprising and unpredictable turns.
Almost, Maine continues at Tarragon Extra Space until May 15.
Little Tiny Things Productions
Written by John Cariani
Directed by Jennifer Copping
Starring Shanda Bezic, Brian Bisson, John Gordon, Lauren Lipson, Mike Lobel and Kate Spurgeon
Tarragon Extra Space, Apr. 28 to May 15, 2010