AISLE SAY San Francisco


by Marisa Wegrzyn
Presented by Aurora Theatre Company
Directed by Tom Ross
Aurora Theatre
2081 Addison St., Berkeley, CA / (510) 843-4822

Reviewed by Judy Richter

Once upon a time, airline stewardess was considered a glamor job for a young woman. Now not so much.

Playwright Marisa Wegrzyn takes that modern view in "Mud Blue Sky," presented by Aurora Theatre Companyto open its 24th season.

Three middle-aged stewardesses, now called flight attendants, have a reunion of sorts during a layover in a hotel near Chicago's O'Hare. Beth (Jamie Jones) and Sam (Rebecca Dines) work flights together. Their friend Angie (Laura Jane Bailey), who lives nearby, was fired by the airline because she had gained too much weight.

When Beth connects with her 17-year-old pot supplier, Jonathan (Devin S. O'Brien), things begin to get dicey.

During the evening, the characters reflect on the past and ponder the future.

Although the play has its serious moments, it also can feel like a sit-com. The greatest pleasure comes from watching these four talented actors under the direction of artistic director Tom Ross.

Dines displays her considerable comic abilities as Sam, the most daring of the four. Jones makes a credible Beth, who's coping with a painful back injury, trying to decide what to do after retirement and becoming a mother figure to Jonathan.

Wearing a tuxedo after his prom date ditched him that night.O'Brien's clean-cut Jonathan, as might be expected of a high school senior, is wavering between boyhood and adulthood.

Bailey's Angie is the least developed character, yet she has one of the most poignant scenes as she talks about her encounter with a kindly older woman passenger in a wheelchair.

Aided by Kurt Landisman's lighting, the set by Kate Boyd easily transitions between the hotel room and an area outside. Chris Houston's sound design is notable for the occasional roar of jets overhead. Costumes are by Cassandra Carpenter.

Wegrzyn packs a lot of information and many funny moments into the play's 95 minutes (no intermission). While not entirely satisfactory, it's nevertheless quite entertaining because of her script and because of the care bestowed on it by director Ross and the actors.

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