Monday, February 16, 2015

Application Pending @ The Westside Theatre (Upstairs)

Application Pending is a witty one woman show starring Christina Bianco, Christina Bianco, Christina Bianco and Christina Bianco….

Application Pending is a new comedy about the hilariously cutthroat world of kindergarten admissions at a New York private school. One actress portrays rookie admissions officer Christine and over forty other roles, including all the wild personalities that she has to deal with on her first day on the job.

If you are at all familiar with Christina Bianco, you may have a grasp of her extraordinary talents for celebrity impersonations and vocalizations. Application Pending showcases her gifts in 75 minutes of clever banter! Bianco plays over a dozen characters, all of which interact with her principal character –Christine. Bianco transitions seamlessly between each character regardless of the rapid repartee.  She is engaging, endearing, enjoyable and completely entertaining.  What makes her remarkable is not only how her voice shifts between each character but also how distinctly her body engrosses each persona.  Though solely on stage without an intermission, Bianco approaches the piece with driving energy and unwavering charisma.  The only disappointment was the lack of singing in the production; it would have been nice to hear more of her great voice paired with the zany cast of characters.

Co Authors Andy Sandberg and Greg Edwards are a dynamic writing duo. The material of Application Pending is stocked with keen quips and tender moments that tug at the heartstrings.  The witticism of Application Pending spans from pop culture to religion - with punches reminiscent of a good Saturday Night Live sketch. The writing is smart, contemporary and just flat out funny!
The scenic, sound and costume design of Application Pending is also worth noting. Colin McGurk’s scenic design is clean and comprehensive of a grade school admissions office and is accented perfectly by Jeff Croiter’s lighting design. However, Croiter’s lighting is most prevalent during the character transitions in the play. Croiter defines each character or mood with a specific light, often swiftly switching at the drop of a hat. Bianco’s costume was designed by Michael McDonald. 

Although there are no costume changes, McDonald came up with a simple business casual ensemble for Bianco to wear that flattered the main character of Christina but also supported all of the other characters regardless of age or sex.

Application Pending is a delightful 75 minutes, and Bianco’s unique genius for vocal flare is worth the trip to the Westside Theatre. 

Review by: Staci Morin
Photos by: Joan Marcus

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