The Crack in the Ceiling, which opened August 15 as part of the New York International Fringe Festival, is about those unexpected problems that we must learn to survive as adults. For Ellen, a single mother (portrayed skillfully and with great ease by Kristy Cates), and her son David (performed with excellent vigor by Nicky Torchia), the problem is a leak in their kitchen ceiling. No one can seem to fix it. Plumbers, contractors, handymen and even an "environmental hygienist" arrive at the house to give their diagnosis, do whatever it is they think will fix it, hand over an invoice and leave just in time for their solution to prove to be the wrong one.
Of course, the crack in the ceiling is but a physical manifestation of problems at home, which lacks a solid foundation. Every time one of these Mr. Fix-Its arrives to assess the problem, they are quickly seen as a potential mate for Ellen, no matter their age, weight or business gimmick. All of them are hilariously and enjoyably performed by Josh Grisetti (fresh off of the Broadway show It Shoulda Been You), who comes out swinging from the first moment and always returns with a one-up on himself. His chemistry with Ms. Cates is constantly changing, due to Mr. Grisetti’s multi-character track, but is always fun and playful.
Though the book of the show could use some fleshing out in relationships and character development, the music and lyrics pick up where it lacks. Ranging in style, each number not only succeeds in each moment, but left me humming a couple bars. Hats off to James Harvey (who wrote the book, music and lyrics). I look forward to seeing the future developments of this very fun and charming show.