Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

Review: THE CLAIM at Shotgun Players

The Claim

Review: THE CLAIM at Shotgun Players

The Claim

Written by Tim Cowbury

Directed by Rebecca Novick

Shotgun Players

After an almost two-year Covid shutdown, Shotgun Players open their 30th season with Tim Cowbury's dark, absurdist comedy The Claim, a smash hit at the 2019 Edinburgh Fringe Festival. In a nod to Kafka's The Trial, Cowbury shines his searing focus on Serge, an asylum seeker trapped in a bureaucratic nightmare that begins innocently enough, but quickly morphs down a rabbit hole of horrific miscommunications with dire circumstances.

Serge (Kenny Scott) seems likable and kind, not sure what to expect from this asylum meeting. Living his dream life in London after the hell of his youth in the Congo and forced emigration to Uganda, he tries in vain to explain his story to the anonymous bureaucrats simply labelled A and B. Sharing his Haribo Gummy Snakes, Serge is blithely unaware that his story is not being translated correctly; a piece of gum crucial to a memory of his favorite story Willy Wonka is mistranslated a gun (piece).

Review: THE CLAIM at Shotgun Players
Soren Santos (A)

The first confrontation is between Serge and A (Soren Santos) and immediately the fast-paced dialogue battles between characters almost talking over each other in a nonsensical stream of consciousness. Serge tries to relate the story of his exodus from the Congo while A ponders the book Around the World in 80 Days and the sadness of dying elephants.

Soren Santo is wickedly good as the self-absorbed, slightly deluded interrogator. Speaking in a Monty Python-esque patter, A speaks Serge's language but doesn't hear a word that's being said. Enter Radhika Rao as B, an equally inefficient bureaucrat who must rely on A's translations to get at the truth. She's more proficient than A, but equally a buffoon.

Review: THE CLAIM at Shotgun Players
Radhika Rao (B)

There is no truth here and that's the point. Serge is suspected as a radical militiaman, armed with his "piece," possibly a murderer, and living on London's streets. We laugh at these wild miscommunications at first, then squirm at the inanity of the circumstances. Slowly, Serge begins to realize what's happening and tells A "I'm not what you want me to be." It's a Greek tragedy played out countless of times in countless countries across the globe.

Review: THE CLAIM at Shotgun Players
Kenny Scott as Serge.

Incredibly timely, chock full of witty wordplay and wonderfully acted, The Claim elicits chuckles but leaves you shaking your head in despair. Cultural and verbal differences cannot be another impediment when aiding those in desperate need. We all love a good horror story; this one adds a new form of monster.

The Claim runs through November 6th, 2021. Tickets available at (415) 755-8182 or at www.shotgunplayers.org

Photo Credit: Ben Krantz



Classical and Hip-Hop Nutcrackers Come to the Fox Theatre in December Photo
Peninsula Ballet Theatre (PBT) today announced plans to present two very popular and contrasting versions of the Christmas holiday favorite, Classical Nutcracker, December 16 at 7 p.m. and Dec. 17 at 2 p.m. and the Hip-Hop Nutcracker, December 17 at 7 p.m. and Dec. 18 at 1 p.m.

Photos: First Look at SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE at San Jose Playhouse Photo
Get a first look at San Jose Playhouse's production of Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s Pulitzer Prize-winning musical masterpiece SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE.

Interview: Jeffrey Lo of LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS at TheatreWorks Silicon Valley Offers a Fr Photo
BroadwayWorld chats with Jeffrey Lo about TheatreWorks Silicon Valley's new production of 'Little Shop of Horrors' that he is directing. Lo has reset the action to San Francisco's Chinatown to explore the musical's underlying themes of cross-cultural community.

Photos: First Look at San Jose Stage Companys MEET JOHN DOE Photo
San Jose Stage Company has released all new production photos from The Stage’s World Premiere adaptation of Frank Capra’s classic MEET JOHN DOE by Robert Riskin.


From This Author - Steve Murray

Steve Murray is a writer for Cabaret Scenes magazine, contributor to ForAllEvents and now BroadwayWorld. He started writing rock reviews for his college newspaper in the 1970’s, produced a va... (read more about this author)


Review: WUTHERING HEIGHTS at Berkeley Repertory TheatreReview: WUTHERING HEIGHTS at Berkeley Repertory Theatre
November 23, 2022

What did our critic think of WUTHERING HEIGHTS at Berkeley Repertory Theatre?

Review: FROZEN at Orpheum TheatreReview: FROZEN at Orpheum Theatre
November 21, 2022

What did our critic think of FROZEN at Orpheum Theatre? Disney Theatrical Productions (also known as Disney On Broadway or Disney Theatrical Group) owns the market on transforming hit animated films into mega successes. The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, Alladin and The Little Mermaid have grossed over 10 billion dollars worldwide. Frozen, based on the 3rd highest grossing animated film ever, hit the stage in 2018 and is yet another cash cow. The touring production, created by a host of Oscar and Tony award winning talent is a visual delight, often breathtaking in its beauty.

Review: NATASHA, PIERRE & THE GREAT COMET OF 1812 at Shotgun PlayersReview: NATASHA, PIERRE & THE GREAT COMET OF 1812 at Shotgun Players
November 20, 2022

What did our critic think of NATASHA, PIERRE & THE GREAT COMET OF 1812 at Shotgun Players?

Review: The Stage Adaptation of the Classic Game CLUE Takes the Stage at Center RepReview: The Stage Adaptation of the Classic Game CLUE Takes the Stage at Center Rep
November 2, 2022

What did our critic think of CLUE at Center Rep? With lightning flashes and an ominous score, a mysterious dinner party at Boddy Manor begins with the arrival of an assortment of guests very familiar to anyone who ever played the Parker Brothers board game Clue. Based on the popular game and the 1985 cult film, this delightful production helmed by director Nancy Carlin and her talented cast and crew is a visual treat chock full of word puns, slapstick shtick and broad comic caricatures.

Review: BAY AREA CABARET PRESENTS MEOW MEOW at Venetian RoomReview: BAY AREA CABARET PRESENTS MEOW MEOW at Venetian Room
October 31, 2022

What did our critic think of BAY AREA CABARET PRESENTS MEOW MEOW at Venetian Room?