Dally With The Devil @ Beckett Theatre, through October 8th
Politics, blackmail, a love affair, and rivalries comes to attention, but fail to express their full potential in this inauthentic play, Dally With The Devil, by Victor L. Cahn. Dally With The Devil focuses on three women, Irene and Megan, who represents the candidates running against each other for senator, and Charlotte, an influential blogger known for her rebellious opinions against what she doesn’t believe in. As arguments escalate, motives and plans unfold, the plotline swerves into an expected direction and leaves you feeling like you’ve heard this story before. Charlotte is approached by both representatives who try to persuade her to run a story exposing their opponent’s faulty political ideas and lifestyle choices in exchange that they will expose Charlotte’s faults if she doesn’t act accordingly. The ending fails to answer the questions that are important in any play and leaves you wondering how Charlotte will tackle the obstacles she is given. The dry dialogue made the play feel monotonous and doesn’t push the envelope the way a play about politics potentially could.
The performances by Erika Rolfsrud as Charlotte and Elizabeth Norment as Irene felt stale and repetitious. The long pauses between lines, especially in the beginning, made it seem like both Erika Rolfsrud and Elizabeth Norment were trying too hard to create this tension between Charlotte and Irene, which makes their confrontation feel strained and contrived. Though you can tell what they are feeling by the words they are saying, it was hard to feel and connect with what emotions they were truly expressing. Both actresses didn’t deliver the edgy, intriguing, and at times humorous, potential the characters possessed. Elizabeth A. Davis’s (Megan) performance was favorable as she was the only one whose emotions were expressed to the fullest degree. She portrayed her inquisitive and protective character with style and sass.
In the end Dally With The Devil felt more like a play that is still being workshopped instead of something that is polished and ready to be seen. The show didn’t posses a spirit and lacked authenticity. What could’ve been a plotline of dazzling debates fails to maintain that sparkle and comes across as awkward and unnatural.