Review: “Lovebird Jamboree” at the Fresh Fruit Festival
By Anthony J. Piccione
With the recent passing of Pride Month this past June, it’s only been natural for all in the theatre community to want to see and hear more stories from the perspective of those in the LGBTQ community, including those who are trans or gender-fluid. With the 17th Fresh Fruit Festival, there’s no shortage of such stories being presented this month at the Wild Project, and in Lovebird Jamboree, audience were treated to not one, but eight, powerful examples of such perspectives.
This latest’s play from award-winning playwright Sarah Elisabeth Brown is an anthology of well-written and in-depth characters studies of various gay, queer, and transgender individuals, which does a fine job at balancing both self-deprecating humor and emotional and relatable drama. Each of these short solos presentations – roughly 10 minutes each – are well-constructed, and are thought-provoking personal and psychological explorations of some unique yet relatable perspectives within the LGBTQ community
Staged in a minimalistic set, as most festival productions are, the play is performed wonderfully by a diverse ensemble of eight performers, who keep the audience engaged with their talent and charisma. Alana Jessica and Meaghan J. Johnson, in particular, shined as notable highlights. It was clear just how invested in the stories of these characters, and while the writing is the show’s greatest strength, the performances of these actors did an excellent job at doing the stories justice.
While reading the playwright’s note in the program, I took notice of her apparent background working in the mental health system, and how that informed her desire to do in-depth explorations of a diverse range of characters through this play. As far as I’m concerned, she managed to do exactly that, and what makes it particularly impressive is how much detail she explores with each character in such a short amount of time for each one. We need more plays like this, and it gives me hope for seeing some of the other offerings at this year’s festival.
“Lovebird Jamboree” stars Andy Reiff, Margo Sinaliese, Alana Jessica, Justin Bennett, Imana Breaux, Averie Bueller, Meaghan J. Johnson & Catherine Rogala.
“Lovebird Jamboree” is written by Sarah Elisabeth Brown and directed by Kathryn McConnell, featuring stage manager Jaclyn Lusardi and publicity and marketing courtesy of Jay Michaels Arts & Entertainment.
“Lovebird Jamboree” ended its run at the Wild Project as part of the Fresh Fruit Festival on July 13th. For more information on the Fresh Fruit Festival, please visit http://www.freshfruitfestival.com.