BoomTown

 

Cheating hearts and wanton lust take center stage in West End Players Guild’s fascinating production of Jeff Daniel's Boom Town.

 

Yes, that Jeff Daniels. Known best for his roles in “Dumb and Dumber” and “The Newsroom”, the talented actor has also authored 15 plays.

 

Boom Town tells the story of Angela and Stu, a married couple, who own a party supply retail store which is failing. Stu has arranged a meeting with their personal banker, Frank, who comes by the couple's house to discuss their financial options.

 

Once Stu leaves the couple alone, Frank and Angela's passion for one another takes over and their sordid love affair is revealed. As the two talk about what they want to get out of the relationship, it becomes apparent that Frank wants to slow things down while Angela has plans of running off with him and starting her life over.

 

Stu eventually returns and confirms his suspicions of his wife's infidelity. Once the jig is up, the rest of the story focuses on the life changing consequences of Angela and Frank's betrayal.

 

While Boom Town may have some rough spots in the script, the overall story is compelling to watch unfold. Love triangles always make for good material – no matter how delicately handled, someone is going to get hurt.

 

In the beginning of the production, the dialogue flowed freely. Characters talked over one another effortlessly and seeing how that is how people talk in real life, it worked.

 

But halfway though the first act something changed. The dialogue slowed down and became a bit pretentious; there were too many pregnant pauses and the reactions to each other felt forced. The action picked up in the second act when the actors seemed to connect more with one another.

 

At first, the set was a bit puzzling. It was the interior of Stu and Angela's kitchen with the side walls being intact but the back wall was broken up into sections. The sophistication of the set was revealed when actors would walk in “front” of the house and pause between the sections which gave the story an added emotional dimension.

 

The play lives and dies through the chemistry of the three actors involved. Carl Overly Jr., who portrayed Stu, did an outstanding job in his attempts to connect with the other two actors. The tension between Overly’s Stu and Frank (played by Matt Hanify) was palpable. But the chemistry between Stu and Angela (played by Beth Davis) fell a bit flat.

 

Hanify was equally impressive in portraying his lust for Davis. With a powerful yet comfortable delivery, Hanify allowed the audience to connect with his performance from start to finish.

 

As for Davis, her connection to the two men in the production was strained. Her sexy scenes with Hanify felt anything but and her relationship with Overly was unconvincing. Her performance was too predictable and underwhelming.

 

While Boom Town may have its rough spots the overall production is compelling to watch. With a pair of outstanding performances and a story that is beautifully complex this production earns a rating of “should see.”

 

For show times and ticket information visit the West End Players Guild website at www.westendplayers.org

 

You can follow me on Twitter @ReviewerJim

 

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