FRINGE REVIEW: The Disappearance of Nicole Jacobs, Part 1 – The Sister

I’m envious of Trey Tatum and his giftedness.  Poetic but not, his words drip out of the right actors mouth like maple syrup and honey and bittersweet chocolate.  He is an amazing storyteller and understands people from their inner core that sets him apart from his peers.  And he’s funny, with a dark sense of humor that stays accessible to the mainstream.

In his newest play, THE DISAPPEARANCE OF NICOLE JACOBS PART 1: THE SISTER, we get to hear the wordsmith at work.  There are a lot of words, maybe too many for an hour-long Fringe piece.  But I know the struggle. When the words are this good, which ones do you leave out?  Especially when you have an actress like Miranda McGee to say most of them.

McGee plays “Crystal,” the thirty-four year-old sister of Nicole, who’s gone missing.  Her full time job seems to be holding vigil over the makeshift memorial for Nicole on the front porch.  McGee is one of our cities most in-demand actresses and there’s good reason why.  She can do almost anything and here she carries the most emotional scenes with gut-punching empathy.  Miranda is always good.  But when she’s given the right material, she’s a superstar.

It’s on the porch that we meet “Daniel” (Henry Eden), the 18 year-old boyfriend of the missing girl.  Eden, a student at Xavier University, continues to grow on stage and is learning how to use his charm and natural nonchalance to his benefit.  Rounding out the cast is another Xavier student, Cassie Delicath, who has powerful monologues as Nicole.

Director Bridget Leak is tasked of guiding her cast through the layers of text, helping them pace their emotion alongside the telling of story.  And she has to do this while constraining her imaginative playwright husband’s vision in the confines of what’s possible.  They are quite a duo.

This is a very sad, intense play with lots of trauma triggers for anyone who’s experienced rape, abduction, or violence.  That’s not criticism; just observation.  There are times when the play feels too static; that is criticism.  But my take is clouded by my seat, I’m certain.  The venue is wider than it is long, making those of us in the outskirts of the theatre feel less connected than normal.  Also not helpful is the incredibly distracting bleed-over noise from the show going on upstairs . . .but hey, it’s Fringe!

I’m intrigued by the title, insinuating that there is more to this story of Nicole Jacobs.  With some trimming, focus, and maybe a little more action this particular play and it’s sequels – and prequels(?) – could be big hits.  For sure, there’s enough talent in the room to make it happen.

THE DISAPPEARANCE OF NICOLE JACOBS PART ONE: THE SISTER runs again on the following dates in the Memorial Hall Studio: 

  • Jun 3, 2017 at 07:45 pm (Sat)
  • Jun 6, 2017 at 07:00 pm (Tue)

Then they move to the Art Academy Auditorium for one last performance:

  • Jun 10, 2017 at 09:00 pm (Sat)

Click here for more information.