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June 27, 2017:

Pledge reviewed by Rob Stevens

pledge

I was never a member of a college fraternity and movies like Animal House and Revenge of the Nerds really didn’t make me laugh all that much. I never really related to that frat boy mentality. Paul Shoulberg’s Hollywood Fringe Festival play Pledge deals with that subject in a fast moving hour under the tight direction of Stan Zimmerman. Cam (Alex Dyon) is president of a fraternity that suddenly has an opening for a new pledge. That is because a pledge no one remembers has committed suicide. Cam is expected to deliver the eulogy but that’s really not his thing. Drinking beer and doubling up on drunken coeds with his sleazy uncle Brent (Artie O’Daly) is more his style. He prevails on his second-in-command Sherman (Brendan Robinson), an aspiring novelist, to do the eulogy writing. But Cam gets so caught up in the moment while delivering it, he places his ring in the coffin. This necessitates him later having new frat pledge Nate (Torran Kitts) dig up the grave to recover the ring. That is just one of the humiliations Nate is forced to endure during his pledge initiation. By the play’s end Nate is a full member of the fraternity as yet another frat brother, jock Mark (Kevin Clough), commits suicide. In the meantime, Cam and Sherman have a falling out when Sherman begins to date one of Cam’s exes, Bailey (Daniela Bobadilla). But when Sherman can’t handle Bailey’s sordid past, he soon returns to the camaraderie of the frat house. It’s a simple plot and the actors do a fine job fleshing out the thinly written characters. Their charm and gusto make the time fly past swiftly.
3stars

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