The Column Online



Written by Cody Lucas

Part of the 2014 Out of the Loop Fringe Festival

Sundown Collaborative Theatre

Directed by Cody Lucas and Tashina Richardson
Set and Properties Design – Irvin A. Moreno
Lighting Design – Natalie Taylor

Billy Baraw – John
Morgan Hillan – Boyd Worley

Reviewed Performance: 3/9/2014

Reviewed by Richard Blake, Associate Critic for John Garcia's THE COLUMN

How did he get there? John sits in his bathtub getting drunk, seeking philosophical answers and emotional comfort from Boyd Worley's midnight radio show. Time and reality blur as Sweet Chariot explores the emotional psyche of a man in crisis.

One word.... captivating!

For fifty-five minutes you hang on every word uttered onstage by the supremely talented Billy Barlow as John, supported in a voiceover presentation of Boyd Worley, the radio host, played by Morgan Hillan. The two men take you on a philosophical journey about life and one man’s struggles with it in such a powerful way, you leave speechless.

Mr. Barlow is the epitome of excellence in acting. You never know if you’re watching him play a man spiraling out of control into psychosis or a man taking that same spiral into self-awareness and clarity. The performance is beautiful and you’re completely engaged throughout the piece. One of the most powerful things an actor can do is... nothing. Not say anything, but engage the audience in silence simply with physical action and facial expression. Mr. Barlow shows this skill like no other with his expertise and passion. You wait for every word, or lack thereof, with complete engagement and anticipation.

By the way, Mr. Barlow does all of this magnificent acting while sitting in a bathtub full of water. Yes, and the water becomes somewhat of a player in the story as well. Watching him sitting in a bathtub full of water, fully dressed is unnerving, yet at the same time intriguing. It’s a wonderfully unique approach to theatre and definitely a presentational success!

High praise must also go to Morgan Hillan in his unseen role. His vocal inflections as the radio host are perfectly delivered, and when he’s interacting with his “listener” he shines even more. Creating emotion and holding an audience with only your voice can be quite difficult and takes a lot of rehearsal and talent. It is obvious this unseen actor has both and he added a wonderfully impressive live element to the production.

The script is well written, detailed and highly imaginative. There are wonderful, highly-detailed sections of the main character’s emotion breakdowns which flow beautifully into simplistic exchanges of humor. The ending is striking as its written and will definitely leave you asking questions.

This is one Out of the Loop presentation you do not want to overlook during the festival!