The number of outstanding performances in Artists At Play’s production of A. Rey Pamatmat’s Edith Can Shoot Things And Hit Them was doubled tonight as a gifted trio of understudies took to the stage before an enthusiastic audience made up of friends, supporters, the production’s original cast members, director, designers, and crew, and at least one other audience member who, like this reviewer, had returned to re-experience Pamatmat’s absolutely wonderful play as brought to life by three actors each bringing his or her own shadings to the richly developed characters Pamatmat has written.

 Joy Regullano, Jaime Barcelon, and Rudy Martinez brought Edith, Kenny, and Benji to vivid life, not only doing justice to Pamatmat’s words, but making each character very much his or her own creation. Regullano burned up the stage with preteen spunk and bravado, but was equally fine in Ed’s quieter moments. Barcelon captured all of Kenny’s strengths, and his doubts and fears as well, along with the joy of first love. Martinez gave us a Benji whose innate sweetness (and puppy dog eyes) would turn any Kenny’s head, with special snaps for the infectious exuberance he gave Benji’s solo performance of George Michael’s “Faith.” That Regullano, Barcelon, and Martinez accomplished this in a tiny fraction of the time afforded the principal cast is a large part of what makes understudies such uniquely talented artists and one of the reasons why understudy performances have an excitement all their own.

Audience members seeing Edith Can Shoot Things And Hit Them for the first time tonight could not have helped but fall in love with Pamatmat’s marvelous play (and would do well to copy this reviewer, albeit in reverse, by seeing the main cast in one of next week’s final performances). Kudos (again) to Jennifer Chang for her wonderfully nuanced direction, to Amielynn Abellera, Brian Hostenske, and Rodney To for setting the performance bar so high, and to Regullano, Barcelon, and Martinez for rising to the challenge of this exemplary one-night-only performance.

–Steven Stanley
November 4, 2012