Regional Reviews: Washington, D.C.
Also see Susan's review of Snow Child
Director Matthew Gardiner has two personable performers, Jimmy Mavrikes and Lukas James Miller, and keeps them busy on Micha Kachman's serviceable set with Colin K. Bills' expressionistic lighting design: they chase each other around the stage, play air guitar, perform choreography designed to look as if they're improvising, call each other on their brick-like cordless phones, and listen to mix tapes on their boom boxes (the year is 1993, the place a town in Nebraska). Behind the performance area is a glass-enclosed sound booth where a four-woman rock band led by keyboardist/conductor Britt Bonney play and sing the songs.
It's the summer following high school graduation for Will (Mavrikes), a sensitive young man who knows he's gay but doesn't talk about it (except that privately he sees his life in terms of musicals), and Mike (Miller), the athletic and academic star who never paid attention to Will when they were in class together but is now interested in a friendship. They go to a drive-in theater over and over to watch an absurd movie about a nun who's also a superhero, and Mike talks about his girlfriendwho lives in a neighboring town, so Will doesn't know herand plays his (real) guitar.
Will is coping with his parents' divorce and has no plans for his life after high school. Mike's father is a perfectionist, a doctor who expects his son to go to medical school whether he wants to or not. The relationship between them grows incrementally, which is true to life but allows for restless audience members to check the program and see what the next song will be and how soon it might be coming up.