BWW Review: Redhouse Arts Center Delivers Knockout Comedic Performances in GOD OF CARNAGE
Redhouse Arts Center is now bringing the laughs with Yasminas Reza's hysterical comedy God of Carnage. The production features a four-member Equity cast, under the superb direction of Redhouse's Artistic Director Hunter Foster. The comedic timing, the staging, and the chemistry are all outstanding.
Yasmina Reza's God of Carnage, translated by Christopher Hampton, is where parenthood and relationships take center stage. A silly fight between two eleven-year old boys involving a stick and knocked out teeth brings two sets of Brooklyn parents together. They agree to a meeting at Veronica (Josie DiVincenzo) and Michael's (Sky Seals) home. It begins with polite small talk, but as the evening continues the anger and tensions comes out in full force. By the end of the meeting the couples give up on playing nice and completely let loose in an all-out hilarious brawl. Basically, any attempt of civility goes down the toilet.
Broadway favorites Jennifer Cody and Jeremy Kushnier take on the roles of Annette and Alan, the upper-class parents of the boy who attacked the other on a playground with a heavy stick, leading to "disfigurement." Donnie Williams' costumes highlight their upper-class status perfectly. Annette, dressed in a business suit, is a wealth manager. Her subdued behavior is masking the emotional woman that is absolutely disgusted with her husband's business practices and his constant use of the phone. Jenifer Cody brings down the house with her tour-de-force performance. Cody's performance alone is a must-see; she is absolutely hysterical. Alan is a lawyer who is, at the moment, dealing with a medical drug-related cover-up. His job takes priority over anything family-related, including this meeting, so he has no problem using his phone to deal with work matters while the meeting is still underway. Kushnier is a comedic delight who brings the laughs line after line.
Josie DiVincenzo and Sky Seals take on the role of the hosts, Veronica and Michael, whose son was attacked. Veronica and Michael are definitely lower on the socioeconomic pyramid than Alan and Annette, but are still successful in their chosen professions of art scholar and businessman dealing with hardware products. They are unpleasant from the start. Josie DiVincenzo delivers a fiery and commanding performance. Seals brings the laughs with his spot-on line delivery. Their chemistry is stellar.
When you put together two sets of parents with two different socioeconomic positions and opinions in the same room to deal with a problem between their two sons, judgement, wrath, and anger will likely, without question, bubble to the surface. The play highlights the all of the difficulties that come with parenthood. There is judgement everywhere, including balancing marital relationships and work, where your loyalties lie, and child raising decisions and practices. As the liquor flows the parents completely loose it begin to verbally attack and tear down each other. The men go against the women and loyalties are tested.
The play features lighting and scenic design by Marie Yokoyamma and some of the set survives, but not much, especially after these parents have it out in their crazy brawl. The detailed set features hung paintings (scenic artist is Elizabeth Latella), a red couch, coffee table, drink cart, chair, ottoman, and numerous books.
God of Carnage is presented on a thrust stage in Redhouse's smaller space, which proves to be a very smart and refreshing choice. The seasoned actors bring down the house with their side-splitting performances. Hunter Foster's direction and the stellar cast in Redhouse's God of Carnage ensures its a production not to be missed.
Running time: 80 minutes with no intermission.
God of Carnage runs through November 17, 2019 at the Redhouse Arts Center in Syracuse, New York. For tickets and information on this production, click here or call 315.362.2785.