Horizon Theatre Blog

10 Reasons to See “Nobody Loves You” in the Park from wanderlust ATLANTA

10 Reasons to See “Nobody Loves You” in the Park

Horizon Theatre‘s production of “Nobody Loves You” is coming to Piedmont Park!

For the third consecutive year, Horizon is sharing one of its super-popular musical comedies at the Park’s Promenade. This year’s show—one of the theatre’s mainstage plays earlier this year—has been met with hilarity, fantastic acting, super-fun musical numbers, and awesome reviews.

With only four performances, Wednesday through Saturday, June 14-17, this is a can’t miss-show. In no particular order, here are 10 awesome reasons why…

1.) It’s free! 

That’s right. Horizon Theatre is giving away thousands of free tickets to see the four-day run of Nobody Loves You in Piedmont Park. There’s also reserved seating for a nominal fee, closer to the stage, and if you’re not a fan of sitting on the grass, there are tables available, too!

How awesome is it that Horizon brings free theatre to our local community and many others visiting our fair city. Thank you, Horizon Theatre!

Jeanette Illidge and Patrick Wade | Nobody Loves You | Horizon Theatre

2.) The cast is phenomenal!

If you’re an Atlanta theatre regular, you’ll recognize names and faces of many of the cast, several of them multiple Suzi Bass award nominees and winners!

Pictured above are the stars of the show. Patrick Wade (Jeff) plays a skeptic of the reality television show Nobody Loves You and he’s taking action to blow their cover…to prove that they’re not really making love connections, but it’s all just a sham. Hilarity ensues.

Jeanette Illidge (Jenny) plays a producer of Nobody Loves You and the love interest of Jeff, whose secondary objective of joining the show was to win back his ex. You’re laughing already, aren’t you?

3.) It’s in Piedmont Park, “Atlanta’s Favorite Greenspace”!

This is the third year that Horizon Theatre has brought one of their mainstage shows to Piedmont Park, which is in the heart of Midtown and easy to get to! The Promenade is near the Atlanta Botanical Garden—accessible from the Garden’s entry road—and the Sage Parking Deck, accessible from Piedmont Avenue and Monroe Drive.

I’ve attended the last two Horizon Theatre shows in Piedmont Park and can personally attest to their being great fun…the shows and seeing them in the Park! [2015] [2016]

4.) It’s a show-within-a-show!

If you’re a fan of reality television, this one is on steroids, but has an actual plot.

The game of love is on! Tune into ‘Nobody Loves You,’ the TV show-within-the-show that follows attractive singles pairing up to find love…Take a behind-the-scenes ride through this hilarious musical comedy about the intimate and gut-wrenching quest for love while millions of viewers watch!

Austin Tijerina, Travis, Leslie Bellair | Nobody Loves You | Horizon Theatre

5.) You get to meet the cast and take photos with them!

In the wonderful Horizon Theatre tradition, after the show you’ll get to meet the cast and take photos with them! Being the celebrity-spotter I am, this perk is a huge one for me and I love seeing so many other theatre-goers talking with the cast, congratulating them on their performances and getting to know them a little more.

If you saw Nobody Loves You at Horizon Theatre in Little Five Points earlier this year, you’ll notice a cast change in the Piedmont Park show. Pictured above from the earlier show is Austin Tijerina, who played Evan, a hilarious character being played by Leo Thomasian in the Piedmont Park show.

And the lovely young lady in the red jacket is the totally awesome Leslie Bellair (Samantha) who will be the only actress to have performed in all three Horizon Theatre productions in Piedmont Park. I’m a huge fan of her work!

6.) It’s sexy!

It’s a story about people falling in love, and yes…there is sex. Or at least the innuendo of perhaps, maybe that happening. Okay, maybe there’s only some sexy dancing and sexy outfits, and maybe a shirt comes off and maybe there’s some crushing, and some flirting and kissing, and…well, let me just say that it’s one of the sexiest musicals you’ll see this year.

7.) There will be food and drinks!

You’re going to get hungry and thirsty, right? Of course you will!

The grounds will open at 6:00 p.m. (show starts at 7:30 p.m.), so bring a picnic and enjoy. NOTE: Feel free to bring your own food, water and soft-drinks, but no alcohol and no glass, please.

There will be food trucks and concessions, as well as beer, wine, water and soft-drinks available for purchase. [more info]

Remember, the earlier you arrive the closer you can get to the stage! But it’s such a big show, they’re all great seats.

The set of "Nobody Loves You" | Horizon Theatre | Photo: Travis S. Taylor

8.) The set is awesome!

Twin sisters and Suzi Bass award winners Isabel and Moriah Curley-Clay have done it again! The above photo is of the in-theatre set, which isn’t as static as you might think. I can only imagine how much more spectacular the set will be when it’s up in Piedmont Park. We’re talking lots more real estate…more possibilities!

9.) You’re going to laugh!

Yes, it’s a musical. Yes, it’s about a reality television show. Yes, it’s about the drama of people falling in love. And it’s all incredibly funny! From the lyrics of the songs (listen closely so you don’t miss this fun!) to the “off camera” shenanigans, to the plot twists and turns, prepare to have your funny bone tickled all night long!

10.) Horizon Theatre loves YOU for your support!

Lisa Adler, Co-Founder and Co-Artistic/Producing Director, shares every opening night of every show that ticket sales make up for only about half of what it takes to run the theatre. Not everyone can see a show at the theatre, but most everyone can go to a free show…and then tell friends and family how great it was!

I can’t speak for the theatre, but I’m certain that Horizon is grateful for your support, whether in ticket purchases, subscriptions and/or sharing how much you enjoyed your theatre experience with friends and family.

There you go…10 great reasons to come to Piedmont Park to see Horizon Theatre‘s production of Nobody Loves You. I think you’re going to love it!

Atlanta INtown Review: “Nobody Loves You” at Horizon

By Manning Harris
April 6, 2017

Horizon Theatre is presenting a quirky, perky little musical comedy for the digital, reality television age called “Nobody Loves You,” directed by Heidi McKerley, running through April 30.

When I say “little,” I do not mean that in any pejorative sense; quite the reverse. It’s refreshing to see a musical play that is not in any way ponderous or pretentious, yet manages to challenge your thinking while being hugely entertaining.

Let’s plop ourselves in the middle of TV’s notoriously addictive (for some folks) competitive reality shows such as “The Bachelor” or “The Bachelorette.”

When creators Itamar Moses and Gaby Alter premiered their show in 2012 in San Diego, they couldn’t know for sure that reality TV and social media would have such a delicious marriage.

But then a phrase entered the Zeitgeist: “You’re fired,” spoken with an accusatory finger point by the current U.S. President. Here that phrase has been replaced by “Nobody loves you,” the catchphrase (and name of the show) that tells a contestant she/he is out, kaput, and still lovelorn. Worse still, they are off television, which is the only thing that gives legitimacy to their existence.

Sound extreme? We’re just getting started.

We have an attractive young man named Jeff (Patrick Wade) whose girlfriend Tanya (Wendy Melkonian) is obsessed with the show and wants to be a contestant. Jeff, on the other hand, wants to write his philosophy dissertation on the show’s vacuousness. But when Tanya leaves him to audition, he decides to follow, and lo and behold, the TV people love his caustic denunciation (“People can either connect or perform; but not at the same time”). They select Jeff and reject Tanya!

The plot thickens, and I shall not tell all, of course. There are other contestants: a devout Christian named Christian (Ben Thorpe) is paired with a sexy, uninhibited girl named Megan (Jennifer Alice Acker), and they wind up in a hot tub. Bear in mind that every bit of these goings-on is being filmed; even when they’re supposedly off camera, they’re on (does this sound familiar?).

Another lovelorn type is Samantha (Leslie Bellair), who’s paired with Dominic (Austin Tijerina), who’s looking for “a chick who’s stable.” Good luck in this joint.

The smoothtalking Byron (Brad Raymond) is the TV host and is given wacky lines like (“Like scales falling from the hides of ancient lizards, 15 contestants have dwindled to the final six”). He’s a snake-oil charmer who also sings extremely well (or Mr. Raymond does). But then this is a multi-talented cast full of award-winning performers; an excellent reason to see this show.

I must mention that Mr. Tijerina does double duty and also plays uber-fan Evan. He announces to the world that he’ll be tweeting live (“Hashtag: so excited!”), and he gleefully careens around the stage in his swiveling chair (shades of Barbra Streisand’s first Broadway appearance as Miss Marmelstein—yes, I can work her into any discussion). Mr. Tijerina is a stage animal who brightens any stage he’s on.

Our original hero, Jeff, has found a “forbidden” romance with attractive TV staffer Jenny (Jeanette Illidge). Funny thing is—Jeff himself has fallen into the hypnotic, addictive allure of being on camera; it’s a real love/hate relationship.

It occurs to me that Andy Warhol would love this show; he’d say that the TV life is life, not a spoof. And everyone’s getting his/her 15 minutes of fame—sometimes more.

The music director/keyboardist is Alli Lingenfelter; the musicians are Dan Bauman, Lorenzo Sanford, and Bennett Walton. I haven’t mentioned the songs; I’ll let you discover them: “So Much to Hate,” “People Are Stupid,” and other witty numbers.

Speaking of wit, scenic and costume designers Moriah and Isabel Curley-Clay have had lots of fun conjuring up an absurdly colorful TV set; and it’s perfect. Ms. McKerley’s direction is likewise fun and seamless.

“Nobody Loves You” had its Off-Broadway premiere in 2013. Artistic Director Lisa Adler mentioned that Moses (book and lyrics) and Alter (music and lyrics) have continued to fine tune their show, and the Horizon’s production is the first in the nation with the authors’ changes.

Horizon’s intimate theatre is just right for this show; I had a fine, fun time and so will you. Who knows—you might wind up on camera; isn’t that what we all want?

For tickets and information, visit horizontheatre.com.

http://atlantaintownpaper.com/2017/04/theatre-review-nobody-loves-horizon/

Horizon’s Full 2017 Season Announced!

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NOBODY LOVES YOU
March 17-April 30

The game of love is on! Tune into “Nobody Loves You,” the show in which cluelessly self-obsessed contestants compete for love and adoring fans. When Jeff, a philosophy grad student, snags a spot on this reality dating show in trying to win back his ex, he breaks all the rules and attempts to expose its “authenticity.” That is until he unexpectedly falls into an onset love connection with Jenny, an enticingly prickly producer. Take a behind-the-scenes ride through this hilarious musical comedy about the intimate and gut-wrenching quest for love while millions of viewers watch.

HOW TO USE A KNIFE
May 19 – June 25

In the chaotic hustle and bustle of a Wall Street restaurant, George – a down-on-his-luck master chef – is facing his last chance to turn his life around. His United-Nations-of-a-kitchen sizzles with two rowdy Guatemalan line cooks, a nosy busboy, and a mysteriously dignified African dishwasher. Set during busy dinner shifts, HOW TO USE A KNIFE bursts with grinding suspense, crackling energy, and piercing surprise as secrets from the past come to a boil.

BLACKBERRY DAZE
July 14 – August 20

It is the end of The Great War, and a small Virginia town is rocked by secrets and seduction as Herman Camm, a provocative gambler, weaves his magic on the lives of three unsuspecting women, Mae Lou and her daughter Carrie, and Pearl, a blues singer at the local juke joint. Award-winning writer/director Thomas W. Jones II is back with his musical adaptation of the novel Blackberry Days of Summer. Don’t miss this murder romance in the key of blues.

PROJECT DAWN
September – October

Gritty, gripping, and shockingly funny, go behind the bench in this inspired-by-real-life story of the women on both sides of the law in Project Dawn, an innovative court designed to transform the lives of women in the sex trade. In this daring and vital tour de force, seven actresses double as victims/participants and Court staff. Whether you are to the left or the right, Project Dawn will gnaw at your heart and open your eyes to see clearly what’s happening in your own backyard.

REVIEW from Suburban Apologist: NOBODY LOVES YOU AT HORIZON THEATRE

Keely Herrick

Is there anyone in America who couldn’t use a few hours of deliciously silly, frothy fun right now? If you have a love-hate or love-to-hate-watch relationship with reality TV shows like “The Bachelor,” then you won’t want to miss Horizon Theatre’s goofy good time of a musical, “Nobody Loves You.” Running through April 30, 2017, the lovable cast makes this one-act romp perfect for a date night or a get-together with friends.

The premise of the show is similar to the Lifetime drama “Unreal,” in that it goes behind the scenes of a reality television dating show. In this instance, Jeff (Patrick Wade) is decidedly not a fan of the genre, but when his girlfriend dumps him to try and find her real love on the show, he follows her to try to win her back. Of course, she does not make the cut, but his curmudgeonly attitude makes him an unlikely star. Along the way, he falls for a producer of the show, and they both struggle to avoid getting drawn in to the televised drama.

It’s hard to imagine a more committed cast, whether it’s the femme fatale Megan (Jennifer Alice Acker) trying to seduce the uptight Christian (Ben Thorpe) in a heart-shaped hot tub, or the superfan Evan (Austin Tijerina), delivering a frenzied Twitter song from a fuzzy rolling chair. The host of the show, Byron (Brad Raymond), centers the production with his lush voice and strong comedic timing. Of course, if the central love story doesn’t work, then the show wouldn’t be very effective, but it’s easy to believe that Jeff is quickly smitten with the gorgeous Jenny (Jeanette Illidge), and their duets (“So Much to Hate” and “People Are Stupid”) are believable and funny.
It’s also always impressive to see what set designers do with the intimate space at Horizon, and this brightly-colored confection by Moriah Curley-Clay and Isabel Curley-Clay is like another delightful character in the show.

A good time delivered by some of the city’s most talented comedic actors and singers — everybody can love that.

‘Nobody Loves You” Brings Loads of Laughs at Horizon Theatre

by Susan Asher


The Off-Broadway hit musical comedy “Nobody Loves You” is one of the funniest most entertaining shows I’ve seen in years. Whether you love or disdain reality TV, this smartly written show will make you squeal as you watch TV-reality characters and producers behave as badly as they do on reality TV.

Mainly a cross between “The Bachelor” and “Big Brother,” “Nobody Loves You” is a reality TV show in which singles compete to find a mate and become the last couple standing. Think of the most neurotic, obnoxious characters you’ve seen on any reality show, add rhetoric and steroids, and meet the candidates. There’s super intense Samantha (Leslie Bellair), the Christian right, Christian (Ben Thorpe) and the seductress bombshell Megan (Jennifer Alice Acker), who in the hot-tub room thrusts her hips into Christian, pulls off his belt, spreads her legs and tells him to “come on in.” Although the characters are more than lively, they are no more over-the-top or unreal than the characters on reality TV.

Representing those who hate TV reality shows is Jeff (Patrick Wade), who says reality shows are only as real as the breasts on those shows. After his girlfriend, Tanya (Wendy Melkonian), dumps him at the end of a season to apply to be on the show to find someone who is better suited for her, he applies to be on the show to get her back. After joining the cast, he discovers that Tanya was not chosen as a cast member. He decides to stay anyway to write about stupid, “unreal reality TV” as part of his dissertation for his master’s degree. Nina (Melkonian), the show’s producer/director, encourages him to stay and state his true thoughts about reality TV as it shows how real the TV show really is.

The show’s host, Byron (Brad Raymond), brings “The Bachelor” show’s Chris Harrison to life with the same cock of the head and the same smirk with outstretched arms as he talks with viewers and the contestants. Byron also sings silly songs, sometimes in the style of Luther Vandross. Then, he sends contestants home because “Nobody loves you.”

You’ve seen characters like this: Dominic (Austin Tijerina), who tries to be hip and cool and to impress women by showing off his abs, acts similarly as the character “The Situation” from “Jersey Shore.” And there’s a scene that looks like something right out of “Big Brother” when Jeff wins the cupid staff, giving him the right to decide which contestants will room together. Evan (Tijerina), the gay roommate of Jeff’s love interest, Jenny (Jeanette Illidge), who works behind the scenes on the show, is hilarious as he sings and live-tweets about each episode.

I’ve never seen a full episode of “Jersey Shore” or “Big Brother,” but I’ve seen enough to see how “Nobody Loves You” parodies them as well as “The Batchelor,” a show I hate to admit to watching, religiously.  “Nobody Loves You” is smart funny, not stupid funny.  I and my companion, a 60-something-year-old straight male who practices law and does not watch reality TV, loved this show. Special shout out goes to Melkonian, who is outstanding in the three roles she plays.

Book & lyrics by Itamar Moses, music & lyrics by Gaby Alter, directed by Heidi McKerley, “Nobody Loves You” runs through April 30 at Horizon Theatre.

Itamar Moses is an American playwright, author, and television writer.  He has been a staff writer for HBO’s Boardwalk Empire, TNT’s Men of a Certain Age and most recently The Outsiders. Gaby Alter is an award-winning songwriter and composer based in Brooklyn. He writes for stage, television (MTV, PBS), film, radio (NPR), video games, and straight up pop songs.

‘Nobody Loves You” Brings Loads of Laughs at Horizon Theatre

Arts ATL Scene – Nobody Loves You Review

Nobody Loves You
through April 30, 2017
Horizon Theatre

This yet-to-get-to-Broadway musical has been a delight to audiences wherever it has played. Gaby Alter and Itamar Moses are life-long friends who got together to create this book, score and lyrics, and they did a really fine job. The Horizon is one of the very first regional houses to have the privilege to present the work; and the creators came here to get it just right before it goes nationally.

The story is kinky. Imagine a TV show named Nobody Loves You. They bring on selected people who are searching for the Mr/Ms right for them. They have little control over anything once they sign on for the show. Everything seems to be under control of the emcee and the producers.

Brad Raymond is the show emcee, and he is spot-on for such a role. A young nerdish type, Jeff (Patrick Wade) is hardly enamored of the show. But, when he believes his significant other has tried to get into the show, he wants to do so as well, in hopes that the riffs between them may be resolved. Little problem, in that his lady isn’t in the show.

But, the contestants include Samantha (Leslie Bellair) and Dominic (Austin Tijerina) who may or may not make it to the final cut. Austin also is a laugh riot when he comes on as Evan, and wheels in to do his numbers. Then we also meet up with Christian (Ben Thorpe) and Megan (Jennifer Alice Acker) who become the object of attraction, but maybe not necessarily to each other.

Jeanette Illidge is Jenny part of the production staff, while Wendy Melkonian comes on both as Tanya (the one who dumped Jeff) and Nina who is the show’s director. As the show goes on, the contestants are to chose their roomies, run through various tests and exercises, and discover others faults, lies and high points..

Heidi McKerley directed the production which features 19 numbers, done with great aplomb and with a live band backing them up with Alli Lingenfelter on the keys and conducting. The show is fast moving, both funny and sometimes pretty sexy. It isn’t one for the tots, but if you think that so much TV is tripe, then this is one you have to see. It will make one reflect on some celebrities and politicians when you hear some of the lines.

More info and tickets at HorizonTheatre.com

‘Nobody Loves You’ takes on reality TV romance at Horizon Theatre

‘Nobody Loves You’ takes on reality TV romance at Horizon Theatre

Blog post in the AJC- Talk of the Town, By Nedra Rhone on March 21, 2017

For more than a decade, millions of viewers have tuned in to ABC’s The Bachelor and The Bachelorette for a ringside seat to watch romance bloom among strangers. Some of them are looking for warm fuzzy feelings, but just as often it is the artifice and awkwardness that keeps them coming back.

In Nobody Loves You, a musical satire by Itamar Moses and Gaby Alter, the search for love never gets olds, even when it is fueled by hate. Jeff, the hero, lands on a Bachelorette-esque type show called Nobody Loves You after his reality TV addicted ex-girlfriend loses a slot. To get her back, he decides to expose the behind-the-scenes contrivances but he ends up hate-bonding with a show producer and falling in love.

“I hate the way some people come here and then act like they’re above it, when that just isn’t true,” sings Jenny, the frustrated film maker working as a show producer.

“I hate that too. Like for instance when the thing that people act like they’re above’s exactly what they do…for a living,” responds Jeff.

The Off-Broadway hit opened this month at the Horizon Theatre and runs through April 30.

Here’s a sneak peek from rehearsal:

Lisa Adler, Co-Artistic/Producing Director and Co-Founder of the Horizon saw an excerpt from the show in 2012 and wanted to bring it to Atlanta. “What drew me to the play was the topicality. It is about something that we all love or something that we love to hate. It appeals to everyone,” she said.

But Moses and Alter began writing the musical at a time when it wasn’t clear if reality TV or social media were going mainstream. “When we began writing the show 8 or 9 years ago, there was this question of “Do enough people know what reality TV is? Do we know what Twitter is?” Now the president who was a reality TV star communicates through Twitter… it is a comedy. This core idea of performance versus authenticity and how hollow everything is when it’s built on performance instead of content has a terrifying new relevance,” Moses said.

These are the days when the Bachelor/Bachelorette franchise rakes in six to eight million viewers each season. Fans gather nationwide at restaurants and other venues for public viewing parties. Bachelor Fantasy League is a real thing. And you can pretty much bet on a Monday night Twitter takeover when the show airs.

Maggie Thompson began watching The Bachelorette in 2011 with her mom and her sister. Now the 19-year-old college freshman watches the franchise with her Alpha Sigma Tau sorority sisters at Olgethorpe University.

“I don’t want to say we make fun of them but the first episode is always my favorite when they come out of the limo and meet the guy and there is always one girl who acts weird,” she said. On the flip side, if your favorite girl loses out, it feels like your own heart is breaking, Thompson said.

Yes, the shows are filled with contrived scenes (how exactly did Nick Viall run into his ex-girlfriend fully made up and miked up?) and sure there are some stereotypes, but the drama is 60 minutes of pure stress relief, said Thompson.

In Nobody Loves You, no potential plot twist is left unturned.

There is the Christian named Christian who is paired with party-girl Megan:

Christian: I’m saving myself for a special girl

Megan: I’m really amazing in bed

Christian: My innermost thoughts are between me and God

Megan: I say whatever the hell’s in my head

And there’s Evan, the Superfan who live tweets everything as it happens. He even has an inside source who leaks information which he passes on as breaking news.

The show contestants compete against one another in challenges like the Minefield Tango —  damage control when a something said in secret is revealed or the 8th Grade Dance — choose a partner while the other person waits by the punch bowl.

All the while, romance is brewing backstage between Jenny and Jeff. In the end, they all find happiness in some measure.

Nobody Loves You is a spoof of the reality TV world in which we immerse ourselves, but it is offers important lessons about how we relate to one another in real life.

“It is about artifice and how we live in a world where we are constantly performing for each other,” said Adler. “It is about the connection …and letting go of the need to put up a good front and not being real about who we are and our faults.”

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.horizontheatre.com.

BroadwayWorld Atlanta Review: CONSTELLATIONS Shines at Horizon Theatre


For every “what if” you’ve asked in a dating relationship, “What if I just hadn’t been…?” or “What if he hadn’t said…?” Horizon Theatre’s CONSTELLATIONS has an answer. And another. And another.

Centered on the non-linear progression of a romantic couple, the play shows how a conversation can alter a relationship with just the change of a word or tone of voice. The two-person play presents many parallel universes (like LOST on steroids, but without the constant bewilderment).

What writer Nick Payne nails right off the bat is ease the audience into the repetitive nature of the piece without losing them to its unconventional timeline. Marianne strikes up a conversation with Roland using a seemingly inane remark about why it’s impossible to lick one’s elbow, and within a few words she comes to an awkward standstill. Then the lights change, the couple adjusts their positions on the stage, and she tries again. Small tweaks in word choice or personal circumstances indicate these parallel universes are full of similarities, but each holds entirely different outcomes. In one iteration, Roland already has a girlfriend. In another, Marianne seems to weird him out. And finally, they really click.

At first, the show is made up of these short, romantic comedy-esque clips which repeat themselves a few times and then skip forward or backwards in time to a new such scene. Were these flirty scenes the full extent of the show’s range, we may all walk away saying, “That was a fun little journey in first date lore,” and would likely talk about it for a few days, anticipating the forthcoming so-so productions at high school one-act competitions for the rest of eternity. But what saves CONSTELLATIONS from simply being a sweet rom-com is its transformation from fun possibilities in flirty exchanges to very serious what-ifs with lasting consequences. And this is what makes CONSTELLATIONS really stick with you.

A standout sequence occurs when Marianne (played by Bethany Irby) confesses to Roland (Enoch King)- without giving spoilers- some very distressing news. We see many iterations of this same scene in which sometimes he’s sad, sometimes he’s mad, in another she’s sad, or he takes the news graciously, etc. Then the exact same sequence happens yet again, this time with the two switching lines completely, and the same range of emotions yet again transpires. Overall, the slightly different nuances relentlessly utilized by Irby and King in vignette after vignette showcase a narrative specific enough to tell a good story, but vague enough to allow the audience to relate very specifically.

As complicated as it may sound, what Horizon does best is create a clear, heart-wrenching show provoking deep introspection, without for an instant causing the audience to step out of the story to say, “Wait, what…?” Lighting design (Mary Parker), scenic design (Isabel and Moriah Curley-Clay), projections design (Bobby Johnston), and sound design (Rob Brooksher) all notably convey the transformation of worlds throughout the show, contributing heavily to its clarity.

Bethany Irby as Marianne expertly switches from sobbing in one scene to happy in the next, and all this critic could think was how does she ride this twisting emotional roller coaster night after night and not collapse from emotional exhaustion afterwards? The flirty sequences showcase some hilarious antics from Irby as she navigates awkward silences and verbal missteps. And yet, she grabs the audience by the heart and won’t let go just minutes later. Under the direction of Justin Anderson, both King and Irby brilliantly convey the entire spectrum of emotions, as they work as a pair to create a complex series of possible stories.


AJC Review: Stellar co-stars elevate Horizon’s ‘Constellations’

by Bert Osborne
Monday, January 30, 2017


The romantic comedy-drama “Constellations” opens conventionally enough, with opposites attracting. Its two British characters are a humble and easygoing beekeeper named Roland, who lives in some remote outskirt of England, and the flamboyant Marianne, who analyzes data about quantum mechanics and theoretical physics at Cambridge University.

But Nick Payne’s play diverges quickly — and then, by design, repeatedly. Theirs is not so much a case of love at first sight as it is a case of love at fifth or sixth sight, too. In a theatrical bit of “cosmic relativity,” and with no “linear explanation,” Roland and Marianne proceed to live and re-live the pivotal moments from their relationship any number of times. In Payne’s alternate or parallel “multiverse,” the slightest differentiation in their actions or re-actions can alter the entire course of their affair.

In Horizon Theatre’s production, director Justin Anderson (who previously helmed “The City of Conversation” for the company) employs subtle contrasts in the lighting (by Mary Parker) and understated sound or music cues (by Rob Brooksher) to distinguish between the many reiterations of each scene. And there’s a nice celestial simplicity to the set (by Isabel and Moriah Curley-Clay) — two bare benches at center stage, encircled by strands of shimmering strings.

Still, however handsomely executed it is, and however briskly it moves along during much of its 80 or so minutes, the premise gradually begins to wear thin, becoming not just decidedly repetitious but periodically redundant as well. Before it’s all over (and over and over) and done with, melodramatic complications inevitably arise for the couple, at which point the show loses a lot of its fanciful, fantastical spark.

The splendid performances Anderson elicits from Enoch King and Bethany Irby make a whole universe of difference. Both of them thrive and relish in the opportunity to work outside of their so-called “comfort zones.” (Their British accents are technically fine, if somewhat distracting. You almost wish Anderson had opted to Americanize the roles instead.)

King is among the more dependable character actors in town (True Colors’ “Detroit ’67,” Actor’s Express’ “Marcus; or the Secret of Sweet”), but it’s an undeniable pleasure to watch him here as a bona fide leading man, and such a romantic one at that. In his most shining moment, he articulates Roland’s “unfailing clarity of purpose” with remarkable warmth and depth.

Prior to leaving Atlanta for a five-year teaching job in India, Irby had been a fixture on the local scene, usually cast as musical-comedy ingénues. Recently returned (and last on view in Georgia Ensemble’s “Calendar Girls”), she has now matured into a resourceful dramatic actress, investing the otherwise intimidating Marianne with an appropriate “quiet elegance.”

In the grand metaphysical scheme of things, “Constellations” often seems to get lost in the cosmos. On a more elemental level, though, in portraying a sweet and possibly never-ending love story, Horizon’s co-stars ring true.