Directed by Charles Ballinger
Set Design - Dylan Peck
Props & Set Dressing - Mark-Brian Sonna
Costumes - Dylan Peck, Mark-Brian Sonna and Mike Hathaway
Lighting & Sound Design - Alejandro de la Costa
Lighting Tech - Ryan Flores
Mark-Brian Sonna - Roger
Dylan Peck - Winston
Mike Hathaway - Jack Brisbois
Reviewed Performance 4/1/2012
Reviewed by Christopher Soden, Associate Critic for John Garcia's THE COLUMN
Fortune has a lot going for it. Great premise, true story, intriguing characters. Written by Bretton B. Holmes and staged by MBS Productions, Fortune tells the story of Winston and his estranged father, Roger.
Jack Brisbois (Mike Hathaway) is the attorney who reads them the will of Roger's recently departed ex-wife, and Winston's mother. If they are to split and inherit her fortune, they must spend one week together under the same roof. If either one of them leaves before the week is out, he forfeits his half to the other. If they both leave, the money goes to charity. I guess it goes without saying most men would have issues with a father who left while they were still infants, and never attempted to connect with them. Winston (Dylan Peck) wears black nail polish and sports enough additional clues to suggest a mixture of thug and Goth. Winston is obviously outraged with Roger (Mark-Brian Sonna) and now must cohabitate with him. Roger is cynical, sharp and blue-collar, with Bermuda shorts, wife-beater and profuse body hair. He makes Ralph Kramden look erudite by comparison. Roger isn't crass so much as he eschews sophistication as pretense.
So this father and son must endure each other's company for seven days or go home penniless. Neither one is exactly destitute but they could certainly use a break. There is lots of animosity between them and more than once it erupts in fisticuffs. Roger's decision to abandon his wife and son has had painful repercussions for both Winston and himself. Now, you needn't be psychic to anticipate where all this is leading, or the "revelation" at the end. Predictability isn't necessarily fatal; it often depends on how the content plays out. Will the two bash each other to pieces (like George and Martha) or find some way to reconcile, despite toxicity (like George and Martha)? Where will we be when the dust settles?
It certainly can't be easy to play sullen for two hours but Mr. Peck, a gifted performer, does his best despite the fact that Holmes hasn't supplied much by way of rejoinders. There may be certain validity in the fact that Winston expresses his verbal anger in the same way that, say, a ten-rear-old might but it doesn't do a lot to keep things lively. Perhaps the lack of a father in his life has hindered Winston's maturity and again, this stands to reason, but it feels a bit flat. Sonna is an excellent actor but his elegant demeanor seems more like privileged class slumming than salt-of-the-earth tradesman.
The two seem genuine when expressing their hostility and hurt but there's just something about the chemistry here that smolders more than it explodes. The physical fights feel real enough but we never get the overwhelming impression there's something crucial at stake. I enjoyed Fortune though I wonder if it could have been taken to all sorts of places beyond the plot as it stands. It is an interesting story with some needed surprises but I cannot help feeling it never quite leaves the launching pad. Any show that requires two actors to exchange most of the dialogue has got to be terribly demanding, and certainly Peck and Sonna do an admirable job. Fortune never quite seems to enter the realm of intense emotional involvement you think would emerge from a lifetime of frustration and hurt.
They earnestly, gamely, jab and feint and dance around the edge of the abyss but seem to avoid the shadows needed to fulfill the story. Hathaway does much to set the tone of the piece, a fable that ultimately shows us the cost of everything and the value of what can't be bought.
Stone Cottage Theatre, Addison Theatre Centre, 15650 Addison Road
Addison, TX 75001
Plays through April 15th
Thursday ? Saturday at 8:00 pm
Sunday, April 15th at 2:00 pm
Tickets are $18.00 - $22.00
KERA members receive a two-for-one discount with their id.
For information and to purchase tickets, go to www.MBSProductions.net , call 214-477-4942 or purchase at thebox office 30 minutes before curtain time.