Secrets in Seattle
Men are cheaters, tormentors and heartbreakers. At least popular media would have us believe so. So before even seeing Proscenium Players, Inc. rendition of Trust, a person might assume that this is a play about a guy who cheats on his girl.
OK, yeah, that’s part of it. But from the opening scene, it’s clear that women are running the show. Becca (Amber Hurley) is engaged to mega-star musician Cody Brown (Brett McCormick), and the two have a very odd relationship. Becca delights in making Cody jealous. While at first this just seems cruel, it becomes obvious that it’s the function of an insecure woman, whose fiancé is not only young and handsome but adored by millions of women.
Enter two more characters, Gretchen and Leah. Gretchen (Michon Deem) is the homely lesbian dressmaker who’s making Becca’s wedding dress, and inconveniently enough, falling for her client. Meanwhile, Leah Barnett (June Joplin), an ex-famous musician whose heyday is past, has been “a real influence” to Cody Brown. She likes the attention the hot, young boy toy is giving her. Romantic trouble is brewing.
In vignette style, à la the early ‘90s film Singles, the play takes place in Seattle, where great music, grunge culture and coffeehouses originated. It seems everyone in Trust is in love with the wrong person. It’s by turns remarkably funny and heartbreaking. Written by Steven Dietz and directed by Robert Bruce, some of the lines will impress you with their truth and incisiveness. Take, for instance, a hilarious discussion between three female characters, over beers in a bar, about how men “work a room” to pick up women. If you have ever been single in your life, this scene will hit home.
Amber Hurley’s performance as Becca is powerful. With a simple look or tone of voice, she carries a scene. She has enormous depth and range of emotion. When she confronts Cody over his infidelity, she throws a tantrum very few would be able to carry off; it’s gripping and utterly real.
Susan Lingelbach’s Holly and Warren Schader’s Roy are the top comedic performances. Between Holly’s impersonation of men in bars and Roy’s monologue about how he steals when he’s nervous, both earn a lot of laughs. They are genuine and likable and seem like people we’ve all met.
For the most part, Joplin’s Leah is honest and all heart. There are moments where she, as well as Deem and McCormick, seems awkward and unnatural. Next to Hurley, McCormick’s Cody is often as stiff as cardboard. But overall, the rhythm of Trust keeps moving, thanks in part to the vignette style and an excellent soundtrack. A score that features U2, Lyle Lovett, Elvis Costello, Sting and Bob Dylan can’t go wrong.
Trust is two hours long. There’s plenty of smoking, drinking, cursing and people making out on stage. Hurley’s fit of rage deserves a caution note, as well. This is no family show. And while there are some tough moments that could be more convincingly played, overall it’s smart, well-written, enjoyable and authentic. But I’m warning you, the women get the last laugh in this one.