“Perfect Catch” – Loving Juggling Show – Catch It!

By: Stanley Allan Sherman © 2013

Written and Performed by: Jen Slaw & Michael Karas
Costumes and Set by: Elizabeth Barrett Groth
Lighting by: Lisa Soverino

Jen Slaw and Michael Karas holding unbrellas while bubbles are coming down.

Jen Slaw and Michael Karas
Photo by Victoria Sulewski

Both performers are sleeping on stage and we hear a morning radio announcer and these two young single office workers get up in the morning readying themselves for work. Jen Slaw and Michael Karas are both master jugglers, winning awards, appearing on National Television and many other venues.  Everything is juggled to music and choreographed.  Jen has a captivating charming character and Michael plays the office jerk, which makes for some nice theater.

What is wonderful is these two have put together a show that is character based with the juggling and prop manipulation growing out of their situations.  Plus it is two juggling theater people working together, which is wonderful.  Here is how good this show is; last year when they did a short run the great Hovey Burgess master teacher of circus came to all four shows of their run.  Hovey only comes to shows again if they are good and if they are great he sees all of them.

Jen and Michael’s characters play with paper, balls, boxes, umbrellas and more.  They have magical moments with their umbrellas, balls and bubbles while dancing.  This is a romantic boy and girl getting together and finding they enjoy one another rather than annoying each other.  The movie clip has a nice classical uncomfortable first date feel and of course Jen takes charge advancing the situation.  It is their acting, which makes all the juggling work.   There is one really romantic moment where they are hugging and juggling.  We could have done without the cheep laugh of Michael’s character quick take of looking at Jen’s rear end.  It did get a laugh but the theatrical romantic moment is so much stronger, they might think about trying it without that take.

There are many magical moments that I will not spoil by describing them.  Funny reactions to office sounds that are played several times and each time it is funnier.  The audience was international, so you do not need to understand the English language to get everything out of “Perfect Catch”.

Jen Slaw & Michael Karas juggling and eating apples

The set and costume, cleverly simple by Elizabeth Barrett Groth serving this show very well.  Lisa Soverino’s lighting is excellent, not getting in the way and over powering it, but enhancing the show.  Whoever did the sound did a master full job and it would be good to see some added credits for all the sound.

My only real complaint was not the show but with the theaters choice to show a video preview of their next up coming show, which takes people out of the mood and magic of sitting looking at the set and listening to the music getting ready for the show they paid to see.  It is a hard way to begin your show and hard for the audience having to change their energy from a totally different rhythm of a show video ad you’re forced to experience.  It might work in movie theaters but this is live theater, which is a different rhythm.  There are other ways to promote the next show.  The best one is if people have a great experience from beginning to end at the show they came to see.

Performed at the Canal Park Playhouse, 508 Canal St, New York NY 10013 through February 24 playing Saturday and Sunday at 1 PM and 4 PM.  Tickets $20 and it is worth it.

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