Wondrous Strange Lesley LivingstonKelley is a seventeen year old redheaded actress, who recently moved from The Sticks to The Big City to try to break into the wide world of theatre. She got herself a job understudying Titania in an off-Broadway production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and, low and behold, the annoying celebrity actress with the role broke an ankle a week and a half before curtain, so it’s up to Kelley to save the show. Of course, Kelley gets herself distracted by a kelpie who follows her home, a handsome stranger who follows her home, and a bunch of revelations about faeries, changelings, Central Park, and her own heritage.

I’m afraid it’s a bit of a jumbled mess. It lacks sufficient emotional connection between the rehearsals for the play and the main plot. Instead of providing a parallel to the plot and illuminating Puck, Oberon, and Titania’s characters, the play mostly serves as Kelley’s day job. It also lacks sufficient emotional connection between the romantic leads. Seriously: no chemistry. He’s into her because she’s hot and she was super-enticing while running lines in the park, not knowing he was watching her. She’s into him because he’s hot and she had a strange, completely unexplained dream during rehearsal. I know they are hormonal teenagers, but still, a reason to care about their romance would be appreciated. Especially as I think we’re supposed to believe it’s the forever kind.

A handful of minor characters distinguish themselves—Puck particularly—but while bit parts can upstage bland leads, they’re hard pressed to rescue an entire production from mediocrity.

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Wondrous Strange ~ Lesley Livingston

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