Feature Story > Reel Affirmations

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[CRITIC'S PICK]

Tuesday, Oct. 22, 6 p.m.
JCC Theatre, Free

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Erin Greenwell's delightful romp through adolescence evokes some potentially troubled times in a marvelously lighthearted manner. Fifteen-year old Leigh (Rachel Style) plays third chair trumpet in her school band and second child in a broken, dysfunctional family. Two things brighten her days: calypso music and a crush on her bandmate, Jen (Naomi Waters).


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Leigh has a lot going on in her life: her mother (Marina Lutz) can't seem to hold down a job or keep the utilities paid up; her super-jock brother, John (played to the hilt by Steve Porcelli) lives to torment Leigh; and her father (the delightfully vague Bill Gruber) comes back to town to try and bond with his kids (but who knows how long he's staying for). In this mix, having a queer first crush on your best friend from band is just one more straw to add to the camel's back.

And break that back does, as the drama in each of these relationships comes to a head, forcing everyone to come to a new level together. In Greenwell's skilled hands, and against a background of delightful music (Harry Belafonte, Astrud Gilberto, and even some happy Billie Holiday), Leigh, along with the rest of her fumbling family, maneuver their way through their dramas and traumas with humor and a lovely lack of elegance. The joy of Leigh's first kiss is matched by the hilarity of Leigh's final rebellion against her brother's torments and the emergence of her new identity as one of the more sane people in her circle of family and friends. -- NL


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