Saturday, January 19, 2008

2.5 Minute Ride

[Published in Show Business Weekly]

Actress Nicole Golden is no Lisa Kron, and, granted, there is lot she can’t truly convey to the audience in 2.5 Minute Ride — an autobiographical play originally written and performed by Kron. The play is a reflection on Kron’s relationship with her father, whose parents were Holocaust victims. In Golden’s rendition, colored lights take the place of family photographs during a slideshow and a genial warmth substitutes for Kron’s crackling self-deprecation. In many ways, it’s almost more impressive that Golden can shed tears for a theatrically-adopted family. There’s never any doubt that Golden has journeyed with her “family” to an amusement park in Sandusky, Ohio, or that she has traveled with her “father” back to Auschwitz, so the play is able to stand on its well-written feet.

There are a few moments where Golden has trouble channeling Kron’s tics, but these faults come across as faults with the play itself. After all, whoever heard of a roller coaster ride lasting 80 minutes? To keep the momentum, the show skips between Kron’s comic observations from the Cedar Point Amusement Park (“Health food in the Midwest is anything in a pita.”) and her emotional recollections of Auschwitz, a parallel that works on a subtle and savage level given the touristy treatment of the concentration camp: gift shop and pricey parking. Kron’s point, however, isn’t to skewer commercialism, and Golden, understanding that, focuses more on memory and description than the jokes. Unfortunately, this sometimes makes 2.5 Minute Ride more performance than play, which is why her impersonation of Kron’s father goes awry.

Then again, roller coasters are supposed to be a little bumpy, and director Matt M. Morrow doesn’t go for smooth transitions between locations. Lumps and all, the grounded, boisterous Nicole Golden recreates Kron’s original trip as honestly as possible.

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