Regional Reviews: Florida - Southern
Breadcrumbs opens against a very stark, intriguing and overcast background of rich blue hues. Although minimalist in terms of furniture, the scenery by Bombshell Productions consists of what appears to be webbing or an overlay of mesh with an opening on either side. One gets the sense as the plot progresses that these two openings are portals through which the central characters emerge and escape. The scenery also serves as a canvas for the eerie projections that appear briefly but effectively throughout the 70-minute show.
The story revolves around Alida (Angie Radosh), a single and mature fiction writer who is working on her final book, and Beth (Jacqueline Laggy), the nurse's aid who encounters her at the doctor's office. Very slyly, playwright Jennifer Haley broaches the topic of Alida's sanity right at the beginning, and this suggestion weaves its way through this film noir-esque drama all the way to the end. Alida is aware of her mental downslide; the purpose of her visit is to run a battery of psychological tests. However, she's not prepared when Beth's obtrusive interest in her writing balloons into an apprenticeship that comforts her with one hand and cripples her with the other.
With a peculiar partnership that uncomfortably shuffles give and take, Beth takes on the task of doing part-time research for Alida while helping her to keep her thoughts together. In exchange, Alida pays her a salary and some much needed advice about identity and self-reliance. Their exchanges are well-written, carefully crafted and draw you into a microcosm of mystery. This mystery goes even further when time begins to jump from the present to the past, prompting Radosh and Laggy to take on new personas. Punctuated by David Hart's spooky sound effects and Nicole DeCicco's abrupt lighting, these rollbacks and roll forwards give us insight into the psyche of both characters while giving Radosh and Laggy a terrific performance outlet under Keith Garsson's sharp direction.
The acme of the performances as well as the writing is in the dichotomy of the roles: Alida, frail in mind but admirably self-possessed; Beth, impulsive and tenacious but woefully co-dependent. Each has much to learn from the other, and each can be a victim. Part of the fascination for the patron is in deciphering who is taking advantage of whom. Whatever your conclusion, it will ultimately lead to an appreciation for this layered and intelligent play.
Breadcrumbs kicks off Primal Forces' 2018-2019 season and return to Sol Theatre in Boca Raton. If it is any indication of what's to come for the next three productions, we are in for a tasteful and sophisticated season.
Primal Forces' Breadcrumbs, through December 23, 2018, at Sol Theatre, 3333 N. Federal Highway, Boca Raton FL. Show times are Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00pm and Sundays at 2:00pm. For tickets and information please call 866-811-4111 or visit primalforces.com.