The Keegan Theatre’s The Baltimore Waltz is a confrontation of mortality, a hilarious farce, an exposé of the limits of the medical system, a noir thriller, and crucially, a flawlessly staged and acted production. The play’s many facets and refusal to map its themes on to a traditional three act structure might frustrate the more literally-minded. But even when the production’s fantastical world does not seem strictly real, its beating heart feels very, very true.
Brianna Letourneau is fantastic as Anna, balancing the hilarity of the character’s lust against the tragedy of her diagnosis with precision and grace. She has a believable sibling sweetness with [Michael Innocenti] as Carl, which keeps the piece grounded even in the script’s more absurd moments. And Ray Ficca is a joy as the third member of the ensemble, doubling as all of the remaining characters (including the mad doctor and Anna’s many sexual conquests). All three infuse their performances with deft physical humor and emotional truth.
There’s so much to unpack in The Baltimore Waltz: Anna’s promiscuity, the coded references to Carl’s sexuality, and the utter lunacy of the doctors on offer are all deeply about the heartbreak of the AIDS crisis, without ever naming the epidemic. … Here is a disease so horrendously cruel that the only way to understand it is through ridiculous metaphor. I think that is why we go to theatre and why we make it: to understand the indescribable. I highly recommend The Baltimore Waltz.