Here’s the “Catch”…

It’s very exciting to sit in an audience, knowing that the show you are about to see is being performed for the first time ever as it was intended. “Catch” is the labor of love of one Seth Moore, a University of Michigan student who not only wrote the piece, but co-directed it alongside Transit Five Productions Associate Artistic Director Julia Albain. It’s an effort that mostly pays off, with only minor missteps along the way.

“Catch” is a work brimming with cultural reference and relevance, highlighting the perceived angst of Generation Y with appropriate rage and insecurity. Moore is a writer chock full of ideas and perspective on various issues, as well as a desire to share them. However, it seems at times that all of those ideas have been shoved into this one piece, making it feel clunky at points. The show times out at just under an hour and a half, short by traditional theatrical standards, but it feels longer than that. Around the hour mark, you begin to feel that it’s time to wrap things up. Perhaps additional material was added in order to stretch a short production (or to give the delightful Ali Kresch more stage time), but the show would be well served if the fat were trimmed a bit.

Despite the lack of brevity in the writing, the six person cast does an admirable job of keeping the energy level high and the pace steady. Kate Garfield is a standout as a sociopathic teenager with seemingly nothing to lose except for her sanity. Everyone in the cast has a moment of personal brilliance, but they work well together as an ensemble, too. Some of the characters are a tad confusing – Tom Wolfson and Scott Sitman are dressed similarly enough (though not identically) that you think they might be the same character – sometimes – but then you aren’t sure. Devin Lytle’s character is a tad undefined, as well, although whatever she is, she moves elegantly from perpetually despaired to strong and present. The men are fearless and consistently “in the moment.”

This is a young cast, made up of University of Michigan college students, and occasionally that youth shines through as a slight over eagerness. This WAS, however, opening night of a world premiere, so it’s very hard to fault them for it. They all seem comfortable in the space, the intimate New Stage Collective theatre. It’s hard to set up shop in an unfamiliar space without the set becoming cumbersome at some point, but this is the nature of Fringe, and the actors dodge the increasing number or props and set pieces on stage as well as can be expected.

A word of warning to anyone with sensitive ears – the sound during some video portions of the production is hard to bear. I do believe, however, that this is intentional. This is a show about stepping out of one’s comfort zone and looking at stark reality. The deafening sound so quickly followed by total silence plays to this effect.

“Catch” really sums itself up in one line from the script: “Even when you try to prove a point, you’re still Generation Y.”