Fringe 2019 Review: 'Goodbye'


Playwright John Mark Jernigan, who created the 2018 hit Hello, is back to say Goodbye, this time with Chris Crawford — the star of his last award-winning show — in the director's seat. The new play (which is completely unrelated to the earlier one, despite the bookend title) revolves around T. Robert Pigott as Felix, a free-spirited scuba diver who is ignoring appeals from his sister (Meghan Colleen Moroney) to visit their dying father. Lauren Culver and John Mark Jernigan feature as an overwhelmed new mother and an empathetic stranger, along with Jeffrey Correia and Brian Brammer as a couple who try turning a random coffee shop hookup into a real connection.

To reveal more about the nature of these characters’ intersecting relationships would spoil the fun of piecing together Goodbye’s intricately interwoven realities. (And to be honest, I'm not entirely certain how the Jacob's Ladder-like strands stitch together.) Felix frequently breaks the fourth wall with overdramatic declamations that tend to trail off just before explaining essential plot points, making the show sometimes feel the theatrical equivalent of a vaguebook post. It would all come across as unbearably precious, if the cast weren’t so engaging – particularly Pigott, whose sassy snark expertly undercuts the earnestness – or if Jernigan’s overlapping dialogue and Crawford’s gently gliding pace didn’t generate such a perfectly modulated elegiac tone. (Credit for the hypnotically cinematic atmosphere also goes to Anthony R. Smith's soothing live guitar score.)

Goodbye is an unconventional combination of bawdy sex comedy and poetic meditation on morality, whose protagonist protests that he doesn’t take things too seriously, yet is wracked with self-recrimination. Such  contradictions could easily doom a lesser production, but in the hands of these professionals, Goodbye emerges from Fringe’s ocean as an affecting exhortation to inhale all the opportunities life offers.


JMJ Productions
Orlando FL
Ages 13 and up
60 minutes
Thursday, May 16th 7:45 PM
Saturday, May 18th 3:30 PM
Monday, May 20th 7:15 PM
Wednesday, May 22nd 5:30 PM
Thursday, May 23rd 10:00 PM
Saturday, May 25th 3:30 PM
Sunday, May 26th 1:00 PM  

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