REVIEW: LIFE SUCKS at the Aurora Fox

by Michael Mulhern

“Was it in a dream or in another life – i just don’t know.”

This brash and revelatory reworking of “Uncle Vanya” finds a group of old friends, ex-lovers, estranged in-laws and lifelong enemies gathering to grapple with life’s thorniest questions… and each other. What could possibly go wrong? This is not any Chekov you know. Never has unhappiness been so much fun.

Bewildered…..Perplexed….Befuddled….Confused are all words that were going through my head as I left Aurora Fox’s production of LIFE SUCKS. Ironically on the poster there is a post-it saying simply WTF and that is exactly how I feel – What the Fuck…just happened!?!?!?

I hate to be over critical, but when you such a fine director like Helen Murray; a witty and intriguing script; and names like Billie, Missy, Andrew, Susannah, and Mark attached to a production, any patron and lover of Denver theater runs to the box office.

Let’s talk about the play by Aaron Posner first. I actually really did like the script, and thought it was a sarcastic, absurd and witty look at Chekov (who is notorious for being heavy, dramatic, and just plain…Russian!) It is very much One flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest meets Uncle vanya meets Six Characters in Search of an Author. I realized that this is a very intellectual play and you have to have an appreciation for Chekov, witty repartee and/or the English language as many of the quick quips were lost or missed on our audience.

This is where the simple infusion of slapstick or physical comedy could have meant the difference between a chuckle and a guffaw. Ultimately the cast seriously needed to ham it up more. While the hit every line – they missed every comedic cue. Also several of the members needed to be more over the top with their characters and just have fun with the roles. They could have all taken a lesson from Missy Moore, who delighted the audience with her quirky and odd interpretation of Pickles

All in all I have seen better from many of these talented actors, but see potential in this play.

LIFE SUCKS is amusing audiences now through March 17th at the Aurora Fox Arts Center. For tickets or more information, contact the box office by calling 303-739-1970 or online at http://www.aurorafoxartscenter.org.. The Aurora Fox is located at 9900 East Colfax Ave.

 

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