Monday, August 6, 2012

Tiny Review: Gruesome Playground Injuries

It's always a bit of a crapshoot when, as a blogger, you choose to throw your support behind (ie. write a post/several posts about) something you haven't experienced yet.

I knew it wouldn't be a mistake to make Theatre [502] July's Non-Profit of the Month-- in fact, I approached them. Every production of theirs that I've seen has been amazing. Gil and Mike and Amy are inspiring. They cast stellar actors and choose complicated and literary scripts.

But, I have to be honest, I spent all month promoting their production of GRUESOME PLAYGROUND INJURIES... and I worried a little. What if it was their first dud?

I'm so happy to report that I saw the play on opening night... and was floored.  It was SO good. Leah Roberts and Mike Brooks were perfectly cast. I've seen Leah in a bunch of plays, but in GRUESOME, she outdid herself. I laughed, I cried. Gil Reyes, the director, elevated an already poignant script with his staging.

The story tracks Kayleen and Doug from age 8 to age 38-- non-chronologically-- through their various injuries and illnesses and disorders. A two-person play is so hard to carry off, but a play with this much pain and drama... I'm stunned at how measured these performances were. Brooks and Roberts perform 95% of their transformations from age to age onstage-- stripping off clothes, applying stage make-up-- in under 60-second, perfectly soundtracked (kudos, Scott Anthony) vignettes. Reyes milked so much character out of a simple "costume changes should occur on stage" stage direction... sweet and gorgeous and brilliant.

There are three more shows. Don't miss it! Tonight (August 6) and Friday & Saturday, August 10 & 11. All at 8p at the Victor Jory Theatre at Actors Theatre. Reserve tickets here-- opening night was nearly a sell-out; I'm sure it will get nothing but busier.


Robyn Davis Sekula said...

I hadn't thought about seeing that, but now I am. It sounds great! Thanks for highlighting it.

M said...

Robyn-- I've gone twice now. GO. It's a fantastic experience. Great cast. Great staging. Great direction. And the sound design by Scott Anthony is... perfect. -- Melissa