BWW Reviews: Kres Mersky's Irreverent FLAG DAY Hits the Mark at Theatre West
As part of their new Writers in Rep play series, Theatre West presents Kres Mersky's Flag Day, a totally irreverent look at a dysfunctional family celebrating Christmas in June. With an eleven-member solid cast and excellent staging from director Paul Gersten, Flag Day is best appreciated if you just sit and enjoy, letting the surprises and shocking events hit you across the face like a cream pie ... or over the head with a pail of cold water.
Akin to a zany Kaufman and Hart comedy like You Can't Take It With You, Flag Day does at times make logical sense as to why Christmas and Flag Day are being celebrated together on the same day, but most of the time characters supply wild reactions and weird explanations of their unexpected or downright obscene behavior, or... just act like it's expected. Think Sophia in The Golden Girls, who said what was on her mind without thinking. These people are who they are and do and say what they feel as they feel it. It may be considered rude, but, hey, what isn't in our crazy mixed-up world today. The play is set in 1992, but that is a mere 22 years back. Things have only gotten worse since then. I will not retell the plot as that would spoil moment to moment enjoyment. You must go and see for yourselves.
The cast are all fantastic. Mersky is delightful as the eccentric but lovable Margaret, who truly cares about issues and other people. Andrew Parks and Saratoga Ballantine have a delicious secret to share and have a lot of fun in the process. Caitlin Gallogly is always a dandy actress and does exceedingly well with edgy characters like Margaret's selfish sister Suzanne, who also cuts loose with some sizzling revelations. Thomas Isao Morinaka is outstanding as apparently soft-spoken Jonathan and Diane Sellars is a hoot as neighbor Brunetta - who is anything but soft-spoken. Roger Kent Cruz has some funny business as Howard, and the rest of the troupe George Tovar as Grover, Gerald Lancaster as Ed, and children Michael Pammit as Daniela and Kylie Brakeman as Emma all add moments of hilarity and cockeyed wisdom. Jeff G. Rack has designed simple functional outdoor and indoor sets to match the other play in rep Against the Wall.
Kres Murphy has a keen eye to national and international politics and offers some fiery spurts of advice, some of which you may not wish to hear, spoken via various characters. Her storytelling is smooth, as she manages to make some pretty cluttered, wild and almost incredible anecdotes sound totally rational. Listen and let things affect you as they come: they will pull you in, I guarantee!
One more weekend to catch this one: