Arts & CultureCampus & City

2018 Fringe Review: Clean Cut

Heartfelt comedy guides roommates through grief and guilt

Providing a perfect balance of comic misunderstanding, heartbreaking honesty, and beautifully genuine roommate bonding, Clean Cut is the perfect Fringe show to cry and laugh along with.

In Clean Cut, Lilith (Morgan Alexandra Donald) sorts through her recently deceased roommate’s belongings with her best friend and ex-roommate Isabelle (Janelle Jorde) all while trying to piece together what he must have been like in life. The play balances this somber focus with wholesome comedic interludes from all members of the cast, especially Dennis (Kieran Murphy), a confused but well-meaning apartment intruder.

Playwright Evelyn Rollans crafts characters that are sympathetic while still grounded in their grief and guilt. In Liz Allison-Jorde’s set design, each and every cluttered moving box and pile of clothing is used to piece together the life of the lost roommate. As the cluttered set becomes a tool for farcical action, each actors’ comic sensibility shines through, keeping the audience waiting for the next wild misunderstanding to pop up out of an unsuspicious moving box. Only some heavy-handed directing interrupts these adorable goofs, which veers the production into overacting, rather than allowing the audience’s emotional flow to guide the scene’s rhythm.

Overall, Clean Cut masterfully guides audiences through the moments of grief most confusing to go through, from weeping in guilt on a tiny sofa, to anger at oneself in the wake of death, and of course, what happens when the mourning process finally comes to an end. Clean Cut is a beautifully written play honestly and charmingly brought to life.

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