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BWW Review: GOD OF CARNAGE at Backstage At The Players

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The Pulitzer Prize winning French play, God of Carnage, by Yasmina Reza, premiered at Backstage at The Players Centre for Performing Arts last night. The Backstage is an intimate back box theatre perfect for this type of production.

As the play opens, we join two couples, the Novaks and the Raleighs in the Novak's living room. We come to understand their 11 year-old sons were involved in an argument at school over one refusing to let the other join his "gang". After the Raleigh's son knocks out two teeth of the Novak's child, the parents decide to meet in a civilizEd Manner to discuss the situation. The couples get more than they bargained for during their "civilized" gathering. Alan Raleigh, (Paul Hutchison), is a lawyer constantly interrupted on his mobile phone by a client with an urgent plight. His wife Annette, (Carrie McQueen), is in "wealth management", (her husband's wealth), and prone to a weak stomach. Michael Novak, (Dylan Jones), is a self-employed wholesaler and hamster killer. Michael's wife, Veronica, (Jazsy McAllister), is writing a book about Darfur and appears levelheaded until her temper rears its ugly head.

As their meeting progresses, (or digresses as the case may be), it is interesting to watch the racial prejudice, illogical motives, and irrational thinking come to a head. The rum doesn't help either. Throughout the evening the Raleighs team up to disagree with the Novaks. Sometimes the women band together to argue with the men. On occasion the men join forces to battle against the women. Who's on whose side? At one point, Annette's weak stomach can't take the brawling, (or all that rum), and eventually heaves all over Veronica's valuable book collection on the coffee table.

There are moments of solace, tension, confusion and anxiety that weave in and out through the play. It is a bit of a comedy and a drama. God of Carnage is tightly directed by Elliott Raines, and assistant director, Donna DeFant, who keep the fast-paced flow moving nicely. The actors are tasked with a great deal of dialogue in a stagnant set and work well together to make it interesting. They all embody their characters with believable familiarity. It was especially delightful to meet the players afterwards, who bid adieu to the audience as they exited.

God of Carnage runs through March 19, 2017. For more information go to www.theplayers.org.


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From This Author Carolan Trbovich