Review: KINGDOM OF EARTH - Sometimes Hot, Sometimes Wet, All Times Involving

By: Jul. 16, 2016
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KINGDOM OF EARTH/by Tennessee Williams/directed by Michael Arabian/Odyssey Theatre/thru August 14, 2016

Tennessee Williams' KINGDOM OF EARTH receives a visually arresting mounting with a strong cast at the Odyssey Theatre. Director Michael Arabian keeps the tensions steady amongst his able trio of performers.

Despite the overlapping of lines in the puzzling opening scene, Brian Burke commands the stage as Chicken, the step-son of the deceased Mother of the House, and current caretaker of the property. Lot, the biological son of the Mother of the House, arrives with his bride of two days Myrtle during the worst flooding of this region of Mississippi Delta. Bravo to Daniel Felix de Weldon for his total commitment to his unapologetically, unsympathetic role of Lot, the "refined" half-brother of half-black Chicken. Always bringing up Mother and continually avoiding any physical advances from his new bride, Lot's a lot more outwardly gay than Williams' other presumably gay characters (Brick in CAT ON THE HOT TIN ROOF or Sebastian in SUDDENLY LAST SUMMER).

Susan Priver revels as the not-so-blushing bride Myrtle. With her unsullied years behind her and probably more experiences than Myrtle the actress will admit to, Priver dominates Myrtle's affectionate scenes with the deceitful Lot. Priver's initial, 'innocent' flirtations with Burke dangerously amp up the friction and sexual attraction between Myrtle and Chicken. Nice and hot seduction dance!

The technical designers certainly teamed up effectively to re-create a stormy 1960's night in a run-down Bayou possibly-at-one-time mansion. Set designer John Iacovelli constructed a very detailed, weathered kitchen with vintage stove, a cushy living room with a spiral staircase up to the cramped master (or mistress) bedroom. Costumer Shon LeBlanc complied purposely costume-y outfits for former actress Myrtle and colorful wardrobe for the dandy Lot. John Nobori's lightning and racing car sound effects; and Bill E. Kickbush's soft camping lantern lighting completed the wetlands feel.


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