Get Out of Jail Free
nytheatre.com review by Mark DeFrancis
August 11, 2007
Get out of Jail Free, Richard Fulco's new play at FringeNYC, is an almost-love story filled with sights and sounds of every kind. Its dedicated cast navigates a complex series of discussions about love, lust, vulgarity, conformity, and much more in a play that tries to cover a lot more ground that it can manage.
The event is set on a colorful playground, which is apparently part of a classic conformist 1984-style future empire run by an all-powerful dictator (whom we never see). He and his "no-love" agenda are however present in Agent #3931254, his malicious dominatrix secret police-chick who is one arrest short of a promotion. She has been dispatched to deal with the twisted Adam and Eve duo of Buttock, a vulgar self-styled rebel, and Half-Way, a confused but passionate bohemian. These two run about the stage flaunting their love, lust, and despair while avoiding arrest through the strategic employment of "Get Out of Jail Free Cards," an obvious reference to modern cronyism. Despite her vicious reputation, the Agent seems miserably incapable of making her arrest while the lovers seem woefully incapable of expressing any love, which sadly yields one long vulgar scene that doesn't so much end, as stops happening.
This play is a textbook example of a show with way more to say than it has to do. The language is so full of double-meanings, puns, and ironies ("Even the senseless things make sense to me") that the audience spends far too much time trying to unpack the clever phrases before more absurdist chatter is dropped on them. The sad result is that many good insights are lost and no characters sound human, making them very difficult to sympathize with. In short, the play shoots way over the audience's head and leaves them in the dust.
The show is not without merit though. Kaitlyn Mulligan's set is a director's dream house filled with exciting nooks and crannies, while Annie Simon has crafted costumes that are both provocative and informative. The cast is, thankfully, on point throughout, keeping the energy high and the action heightened.