The world of air guitar was electrically showcased in “Airness,” a UCR play that features its main character, Nina (Emily Luong), traversing through this unfamiliar world after a nasty breakup with her fiance. As she makes friends and learns more about the fantastical landscape of air guitar, Nina goes through a series of tribulations that challenge her to grow as both an air guitarist and person. When it turns out that her former flame is the reigning air guitar champion, the line between revenge and happiness blurs as Nina takes on the persona of “The Nina” and is determined to take the crown.

The Nina is surrounded by a stellar supporting cast in the form of her creative and well-studied air guitar coach “Shreddy Eddy” (Kenny Lopez-Elwell); the heart-on-sleeve comedic “Facebender” (Jonathan Hatsios); the good-vibes charming “Golden Thunder” (Derrian Benoit Nash); the angsty technical-god of air guitar “Cannibal Queen” (Rachel Millar); and fiery antagonist and past lover “D-vicious” (George Shen). Each character was played with full commitment, enhancing the distinctness of each character’s personality. Whether it be the edginess of Cannibal Queen or Facebender’s hilarious antics, “Airness” was no short of personality in terms of the supporting characters.

The last supporting character, the announcer (Li Devigal), is instrumental in drawing the audience into the world of “Airness,” as they set the stage by announcing the rounds of the competition and bringing characters to the fold. Most of the immersion stems from the announcer’s performance and UCR students were able to find themselves as audience members of both the play and its fictional universe.

The Nina and D-vicious do unfortunately feel as though they do not get to shine as much as the play’s main protagonist and antagonist, due to their stories often being sidelined to explore supporting characters.

The standout from the cast is indubitably Facebender, insofar as it felt like he was the heart of the show. His character served as a fun facet to bounce multiple kinds of jokes off of along with his lovable heart-on-sleeve personality. Hatsios nails the character with every line, capturing the humorous and emotional component of the play.

The UCR performance of “Airness” can only be described as extraordinarily intimate, thrusting its audience into this fantastical rock world. The announcer rouses the crowd up for each of the character’s solo acts and proves themselves as an incredible instrument of immersion for the audience. Subsequently, the stage presence of every actor, supplemented by directional lighting, is enhanced as they cross the boundaries of the stage onto the stairs between the audience’s seats, further sucking watchers into the play’s fictional universe. Additionally, watchers were encouraged to cheer and boo at any time, replicating the feeling of live concerts.

Furthermore, the set, despite never changing to any large extent, served incredibly well as both a concert venue for rockstar performances and a hangout spot for the cast. Much credit has to be given to the direction of lighting, as the ambiance can change at the drop of the hat from the warm, carefree and casual bar hangout with friends to an isolating spotlight shining on its sole air guitarist, ready to rock our world.

Every member of the show steals the spotlight of the entire play at some point with their solo performances. With each character sporting their distinct style of air guitar, “Airness” treats its audience to each character’s style of air guitar, which also further highlights the characters’ personality.

“Airness” has so much heart and care put into it. The play was a love letter to those who follow their passions, showing that you can find your people, no matter what. With its intimate set, wonderful characters and electric air guitar performances, “Airness” brought the premium air guitar experience to all that set foot into the theater.

Verdict: “Airness” is a heart-felt love letter for people that follow their passions. With themes of friendship, confidence and determination, the UCR rendition of the air guitar play leaves its audiences with an electric performance.