Reviewer: Kristin O’Blessin
Author and actor, Andrew Rothkin takes us on a trip down memory lane that is simultaneously funny and heartbreaking as he transforms, before our eyes, from a bitter middle-aged divorcee into a geeky teen falling in love for the first time in Meredith’s Ring. The object of his affection is the bristly Meredith (played well by Amanda Szymczak). She is a tough foul-mouthed girl made that way by a home life fraught with secrets. The lonely A.J. (Rothkin’s character) finds her irresistible.
It was delightful watching these two performers bring all the extreme emotions of teenage love to life. Having suffered through high school during the play’s flashback time period (the mid 1980s), the music and pop culture references woven into the dialogue vividly brought back all the uncomfortable feelings most of us try so hard to forget. The rich dialogue allows Meredith never to be a one-note character; within minutes of her arrival, hints of the vulnerable girl who wants to be loved slip through the almost-invisible-but-definitely-there cracks in her armor, and later, as Meredith sings to A.J., we see the happy little girl who grew into the young woman who fears she can’t escape destiny. An undercurrent of melancholy shades the play as A.J. is forced to come to terms with his feelings for Meredith against the harsh reality they must face. Mr. Rothkin walked an excellent line by showing us how bitterness is created when you mix sadness of reality and hope of something better. The flashback motif serves as an engrossing psychological study of how we are shaped by our surroundings and unforeseen – as well as unknown – elements.
The play is short – 45 minutes. The run is too short – it ends with a Saturday matinee at 2:00 p.m.