Monday, August 6, 2012
Tiny Review: Gruesome Playground Injuries
I knew it wouldn't be a mistake to make Theatre  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.