Monday, May 14, 2018

Fringe 2018 review: ‘Along the Way’ mixes tunes and travel

Posted By on Mon, May 14, 2018 at 12:34 PM

click to enlarge along_the_way.png
Airport, that cheeseball movie from 1970, told of several strangers’ lives intersecting during a potentially tragic airplane flight. Along the Way puts a new spin on that predicament by presenting a less dramatic dilemma: one in which passengers never even get on the plane but nevertheless make personal, lasting connections – through song – while waiting at the gate. Though the musical dramedy is contrived and not without its structural turbulence, it comes in for a somewhat smooth landing thanks to its instantly recognizable music and competent cast.

The standouts among the 11-member ensemble are Andrew Meidenbauer as an anxiety-riddled business traveler, Brayshawna Bates as a ukulele-strumming hippie, Michelle Knight as an overworked airline employee and Robby Pigott as the reliable airport janitor who, ironically, has never been on a plane. Choreographer Kristen Danga also deserves accolades, as does Kyle Mattingly for the musical arrangements of such classics as “Life Is a Highway,” “Wouldn’t It Be Nice,” “I’ve Been Everywhere,” “Some Enchanted Evening,” “Come Fly With Me,” “Pressure” and an imaginatively staged “Make ’Em Laugh.”

Less impressive is the script by Dennis Maher and co-directors Juan Cantú and Melanie Mason. But, admittedly, even the best writers would struggle to flesh out nearly a dozen characters in just 50 minutes. Still, the sandwiching in of “What a Wonderful World” is slightly ill-advised, as the production is best when it’s not taking itself too seriously.

Also in need of tweaking is the visual design, which consists almost solely of travel-themed images projected on a large screen behind the actors. Worthwhile conceptually, they are often overwhelmed by the overhead lighting, a problem that might be avoided by removing a couple of upstage lights or moving the screen back a few feet.

Don’t make Along the Way one of your main Fringe destinations. But it’ll certainly serve as an enjoyable staycation.

Along the Way
Mertz Productions, Orlando, FL
All Ages
50 minutes
Orange Venue
Thursday, May 17, 2018 @ 8:15 PM
Saturday, May 19, 2018 @ 10:00 PM
Sunday, May 20, 2018 @ 1:30 PM
Tuesday, May 22, 2018 @ 6:45 PM
Friday, May 25, 2018 @ 6:45 PM
Sunday, May 27, 2018 @ 8:30 PM

Check out ALL of our Fringe 2018 reviews at

Tags: ,

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Orlando Weekly works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Central Florida.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Orlando’s true free press free.


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Read the Digital Print Issue

April 14, 2021

View more issues


© 2021 Orlando Weekly

Website powered by Foundation