BWW Reviews: GRAPEFRUIT - A Sweet Tribute Despite Bitter Aftertaste
Actress, owner and artistic managing director of Stage Left Studio, Cheryl King, performs the one-woman play, GRAPEFRUIT, about the life of late opera singer and playwright, Sally Lambert, who was to appear in the show herself until unfortunately succumbing to cancer shortly prior to its opening. While King executes a stellar acting performance under the fine direction of Theresa Gambacorta, some of the material is wrought with political and governmental rhetoric, and turns GRAPEFRUIT somewhat sour.
King delivers a raw and intimate account of Sally Lambert’s life journey, from her days as a young child and prodigy musician, to the loves of her life, to her diagnosis of cancer, to her battle with health insurance and treatment, and to ultimately, her death. Although King calls it an “angel of death,” the doctor referred to her malignant tumor as the size of a “Grapefruit,” and she was appalled when the Oncologist’s first question was, “Who is your insurer?”
King goes on to discuss the horror, denial, fear, and loathing that dominated Lambert’s thoughts, all in a dramatic, masterful, and often funny and uncanny way. She tells of her early days of growing up in Kentucky, singing and playing piano at church, and when, at 10 years old, her father shot and killed himself in his car at a church parking lot. She also reveals how the love of her life was diagnosed with fatal cancer only within two days of her own diagnosis.
King is a brilliant actress, raw and inspiring, who truly has a passion for this project, and is determined to expose the crooked health care companies and their greedy big-business regimes. However, although an emotionally-charged and unapologetic performance, King often times comes across too aggressive and preachy, and leaves the close, intimate audience feeling somewhat uncomfortable. Perhaps her immense passion for this subject has influenced her views on major healthcare in regards to exposing governmental and political administration; however, her long fact-declaring rant about alternative medicine versus governmental healthcare disrupts the natural flow of Lambert’s personal health struggles and at times, leaves the audience squirming in their seats.
Lighting by Ellen Rosenberg and sound by Joe Hutcheson are both very effective in this one-woman play. As a whole, King gives an extremely passionate and inspiring tribute to Sally Lambert in the dynamic play, GRAPEFRUIT. A controversial and challenging topic, Cheryl King tackles it head-on, with aggressive fervor for a subject she clearly holds dear to her heart. Although at times a little too controversial in her political rhetoric, King’s zest for life and her personal commitment to this project overcomes any bitterness in the GRAPEFRUIT.
GRAPEFRUIT has been extended through May 3, with performances at 7:30pm. Tickets are $20 and running time is 60 minutes. For more information, visit: www.stageleftstudio.net.