Crazy Good Luck
nytheatre.com review by David Fuller
August 15, 2009
Crazy Good Luck, written, choreographed, and performed by Karen MacIntyre, is a sweet homage to four people who have significantly touched her life: a redneck named Luke, a best friend named Esther, a husband named Mark, and a mother-in-law named Ruth. The 45-minute evening is divided into four sections devoted to one of the above, the tribute for each told with a song about the person, a monologue spoken as the character, and a dance piece encompassing emotional aspects of each relationship.
Each song is performed at an upright piano with MacIntyre accompanying herself. She sings about the person, introducing us to him or her and telling us how that person is special to her life. MacIntyre gives us different musical styles to go with each subject, from honky tonk to waltz. Through song we learn that Luke was an early love who just never grew away from being a good ol' boy; Esther is her oldest and best friend; Mark is her husband and father of their only child; Ruth is Mark's 90-year-old mother.
The monologues give further insight into the characters and give MacIntyre the opportunity to play four very different roles, using one simple costume piece to indicate the person. Though the writing is not particularly out of the ordinary, it suits the characters and is sometimes funny and poignant. Best of all, MacIntyre's simple acting style is compelling and breathes honest life into her characters. Luke comes off as a bit of a pathetic drunk, yet MacIntyre is funny in her portrayal of him and his cluelessness. Esther's character is poignant, tragic, and hopeful, as we learn she is dealing with breast cancer. Mark is triumphant, as he comes to terms with his own sexual identity and transgendered reality. Ruth comes last and is best of all—a cantankerous but sweet codger who loves her son no matter which sex he is.
The dancing, unaccompanied by music, is at various times raw, visceral, and humorous. MacIntyre is a very accomplished dancer and choreographer who is particularly adept at conveying the emotions underpinning the music and monologues that precede each dance. Through movement we see MacIntyre shake off her relationship with Luke, we see a passionate plea for Esther's recovery, we watch the amazing struggle for Mark to find his true self, and we revel in Ruth's joy for life.
All in all, under the deft guidance of director Judy Thomas, and with the able lighting of Lindsay Giuffrida, Crazy Good Luck is a nicely spent time in the theatre.