Drew Larimore’s Off-Broadway comedy “Out of Iceland” premiered this week at the Walkerspace theatre in TriBeCa. “Out of Iceland,” a comedy with heart, was originally developed in 2008 at the Telluride Playwrights Festival and is being presented by Alfred R. Kahn, in association with Culture Project, in New York City under the direction of Josh Hecht.
The story begins with New Yorker Caroline (Jillian Crane) waking up in Hal’s (Michael Bakkensen) cabin in the middle of Askja, Iceland after falling off a volcano while on a trip both researching the area for her next book and running away from a troubled past. An Iceland-native, originally from Kentucky and with a thick accent (which unfortunately fluctuates in and out of believable authenticity) to prove it, Hal nurses Caroline back to health as the two slowly develop a seemingly unlikely relationship. Things soon go awry when a meddling, magical and highly animated troll-type Icelander named Thor (enthusiastically portrayed by Lea DeLaria) bursts through Hal’s TV and put Hal and Caroline on a path to confrontation. Hal and Caroline then venture out into “The Middle” to prove who they are to each other and themselves.
Although the space in the theatre is quite small, scenic designer Narelle Sissons’ team creates an intriguing and inviting space that, although physically small, does a good job portraying the gigantic expanse the characters are facing in “The Middle” of Iceland. The original score and sound design were also of a high caliber—Ryan Rumery’s hauntingly beautiful soundtrack conjured images of a cold, vast Iceland that is also a perfect incubator for unlikely love.
The play’s basic story is one that isn’t entirely unfamiliar; a combination of a few common, enjoyable, romantic-comedy plots that melt together to form a mostly delightful story. A number of details are added to shape the characters for more depth, although some do more to confuse—not simplify—an already relatively complex story. Bakkensen and Crane do a solid job acting throughout—and an exceptionally good job in some of the more heated scenes—although unfortunately clunky scripting in some of the earlier, more awkward conversations make for more heavy handed and less believable dialogue and acting.
DeLaria’s performance as Thor is entertaining throughout, especially when providing some of the more outlandish jokes in the performance. Her presence as a jokester and puppeteer is welcomed throughout the play, helping to drive forward the plot at multiple points.
Larimore’s script provides a number of delightfully magical moments, although one wishes they might have been strung together a bit more naturally to allow these talented actors to perform with the nuanced talents they surely posses.
“Out of Iceland” is playing at the Walkerspace at 46 Walker through April 22, Sundays at 7:00pm and Tuesdays through Saturdays at 8:00pm. Click here to purchase tickets or call 866-811-4111. Group tickets available by emailing email@example.com.