MICHAEL & EDIE (Villanova Theater): 60-second review

Mitchell Bloom and Sophia Barrett in MICHAEL AND EDIE at Villanova Theatre. Photo by Kimberly Reilly.

The classic tale: boy meets girl, boy likes girl, girl is cold to boy. No, it’s more than that. Rachel Bonds’s MICHAEL & EDIE is a whirlwind of realization, emotion, and introspection. The story begins with the quaint meeting: Michael (Mitchell Bloom) has moved from the comforts of home and lands a job at a bookstore owned by strict owner John (John Baxter) where he meets Edie (Sophia Barrett), a strange but intriguing girl. He fanaticizes about her, the well-traveled girl with a storybook past. As he attempts to create his own life in his new town, he continues to deal with his sister back home Sarah (Sarah Ochocki) whose mental wellness is declining. He finds that Edie is aloof, seemingly close but always backing away. Edie believes if she closes herself off, she can’t be hurt again. She frequently airs her fears to her supportive brother Ben (Kyle Fennie). This is a glimpse into the lives of very different, yet very similar people.

MICHAEL & EDIE is not what it seems. It is real and poignant. It is sad and hopeful, and everything in between. It’s real life. For anyone who’s suffered loss, believed in better days ahead, or been there for those who have, this is their story. Making his debut as a Villanova professor/director James IJames captures every facet of the story in every move and inflection. The set (Meghan Jones) is the framework that creates the whole atmosphere. In the “Talk Back” segment after the show I attended, Sophia Barrett commented on how she felt reading the script: The beginning felt like a heartwarming story of boy meets girl, then the rug was pulled out from under her, reflecting exactly how I felt and the whole audience I’m sure. The show sparked emotion and conversation. Amazing. [Villanova Theater] February 10-22, 2015 (February 19 is speaker’s night featuring playwright Rachel Bonds.) villanova.edu.

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