Review: Tight Five

This afternoon I saw the riveting and somewhat mysterious play Tight Five, about a struggling stand-up comedian who receives a terminal diagnosis giving her weeks to live, just as a stranger comes into her life, promising her the world, and to make the most of her life, or at least what’s left of it. Works about death intrigue me, so I jumped at the chance to see it, and squeeze it into my busy schedule.

All of the performers in the production were truly exceptional, but the standout star undoubtedly was Jennifer Downes, who managed to captivate my attention right from the very first scene. Her portrayal was not just convincing but absorbing throughout the entire performance. Despite a slightly hurried conclusion, I found her character’s decisions to be profoundly authentic. More than once her emotional struggles on-stage echoed my own internal dialogue and had my eyes moist.

Downes, who also happens to be one of the co-writers, skillfully conveys the essence of the main character, Syd Meyers, as she grapples with a daunting diagnosis and the presence of the mysterious interloper in her life, whose intentions are not fully known.

Speaking of the enigmatic interloper, Priyanka Krishnan’s portrayal was nothing short of incredible, guiding the main character through a series of increasingly bizarre and perplexing circumstances in the wake of her diagnosis. Completing the ensemble cast are Starr Kirkland and Chase Naylor, both of whom delivered outstanding performances as integral figures within Meyer’s small circle of friends and acquaintances.

Co-authored by Ms. Downes and the director, John Peña Griswold, the production’s conclusion, while it may have felt a tad rushed, ultimately made sense. Surprisingly, I didn’t foresee the resolution until just a few minutes before it unfolded, leaving a delightful element of surprise that lingered.

In summation, Tight Five is undeniably an entertaining and thought-provoking show, boasting a talented cast that entertains throughout, despite the rushed ending.

Tight Five is presented by the New Ambassadors Theatre Company and is playing at Hudson Guild Community Works.