BWW Review: Dynamite Production of THE TWO KIDS THAT BLOW SHI*T UP
THE TWO KIDS THAT BLOW SHIT UP/written by Carla Ching/directed by Jeremy Lelliott/The Lounge Theatre/thru September 4, 2016
The thoroughly involving world premiere of playwright Carla Ching's THE TWO KIDS THAT BLOW SHIT UP combines the potent mixture of a witty script with two totally dynamic actors directed in a steady, flowing, non-stop pace of a brisk 90 minutes. Jeremy Lelliott deftly directs his two brilliantly believable actors as they portray two people brought together by not any of their own doings. Under less capable hands, Ching's conceit of having two actors portray the same characters in their respective 30-year spans could be quite tricky or confusing.
Julia Cho (as Diana) and Nelson Lee (as Max) completely flesh out Diana and Max' unique relationship of step-siblings, BFFs, and possibly much more. As the 9-year-olds stuck together when their respective parent falls in lust and in love with each other; a foul-mouth Diana and bomb-making Max build a snowman and a snowwoman in a tender scene of tentative and suspicious bonding. A totally dysfunctional family 'unit' with step-mom and step-dad present realistic, relatable issues from 'the two kids.'
Through divorces, marriages and rehab; the concern and support the Diana and Max have for each other would be most enviable for any two people to have, in any form of relationship. (Ms. Ching, please write me the perfect partner as you did here!) Cho and Lee exhibit much chemistry and a most evident connection in Diana and Max' ever-changing, yet never-changing relationship.
The fourteen scenes of THE TWO KIDS THAT BLOW SHIT UP revert back and jump forward to the ages when significant events occur for Diana and Max. (The sometimes lost voice-over announcement of the current ages would be better served with a video graphic of 'Age 15,' 'Age 30,' etc. for each scene, possibly blending into the background mural.) Wonderfully amazing that Cho and Lee oh-so-easily regress to childlike 9-year-olds, up through their chaotic teen years to their beginning adulthood to their end-of-the-play age of 38. With great assist from costumers Emily Brown-Kucera and Rachel Stivers; hoodies, headbands, wedding dresses and office apparel complement and re-enforce the ages Cho and Lee inhabit.
Se Oh ably designed a functional set requiring minimal set change. Only grumble would be the turning on of the very bright fluorescent lights in the side flats for each scene. So, other than the blinding fluorescents, Artists at Play's THE TWO KIDS THAT BLOW SHIT UP's one of the best productions I've seen this year! Go see for yourself!