Kevin Reid brings to life a motley assortment of clownish characters to tell the story of Norman Bisbee, a WWII veteran in his sunset years going to battle once more.

Reid’s physicality and voice-work are the strongest assets of this show. He does an excellent job bringing to life the distinct characters in such a way that we immediately know a lot about them, without the need for a lot of expositional introduction. This is made easier by the fact that the characters aren’t particularly profound, and their embodiment is designed to be somewhat cartoonish as a result, but it works in a sort of disarming-charming way that Reid wields with some expertise.

Photography by Caitlin Oleson
Photography by Caitlin Oleson

I enjoyed watching this performance because it was fun. Reid has a sense of playfulness that comes through this work in a way that is a pleasure for the audience. There is heart in this show. The characters are cute, or vile as they’re meant to be, and its nice to know with certainty who to cheer for. But this lack of complication seems to hold the show back from really resonating for me. I liked it, but it didn’t move me particularly. The plot is straightforward, the moral is clear and uncomplicated, and the show lacks the nuance in its truth that permeates the real world. The innocence of its conception of the world doesn’t really teach us anything new about it.

It seems to me that by increasing the pace of the story that already exists, Reid might find space in the hour to ask a few more questions, and explore the depths of motivation that these lovely characters surely possess.

One thought on ““Norman Bisbee Goes to War” Has A Lot of Heart

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