A Fine Line
nytheatre.com review by Nicole Higgins
August 14, 2009
Dark. Very dark and unstoppably hilarious. A Fine Line embodies why I love the New York International Fringe Festival; it's all about the talent. Directed by Gary Rudoren (of the hit play So...I Killed a Few People), the only things Emlyn Morinelli and Jennifer Sanders (who are also the authors of this morbid gem) need to tell their twistedly funny tale is a space, two chairs, and some light. Their lightning-like timing and easy elasticity, slipping from character to clearly defined character, are right on. I had to stop myself from laughing so hard to make sure I didn't miss the next funny. If you could use a laugh (and who couldn't?!) at ambition, science, thwarted love, good-natured people, and life-sentences, there are four performances left for you to catch!
The piece opens with Morinelli and Sanders playing two scientists presenting findings from a rather grizzly pseudo (I hope!) study involving the length of time a rat will swim if it thinks it may be rescued. The comediennes then launch into a version of "High Hopes" without a wink of irony, but as soon as I (in the audience) was introduced to Betty (the convict) I was hooked. Why is Betty, this saccharine-sweet aw-shucks little lady, in jail? How does this all connect? I didn't want to blink for the rest of the show.
In the unraveling mystery, the two women play various characters in a not quite linear sequence telling the interwoven stories of the upbeat convict and a disgruntled would-be scientist (dentist) desperate for recognition. The chilling conclusion (punch line) of A Fine Line will keep you howling all the way to the very last delicious moment.