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A CurtainUp Review
It soon becomes apparent that this fierce band is really much more like a bunch of high-tech Keystone Kops who have lots of sex, both consensual and not. Contrary to the wishes of the others, Michael (Wilton Yeung) takes in a drug addict named Coco (Allison Buck). And when two ex-soldiers, Frank (Raul Sigmund Julia)and Jack (Alex Herrald) who turn out to be her boyfriend and his buddy arrive, Michael manages to find a place for them too.
Another newcomer is Paul (Ian Quinlan), a tried and true terrorist who is sent over to stay with Helen (Kate Michaud). Not exactly a perfect guest, his first act is to rape her (tastefully done with fadeout, lights up, and pants hurriedly zipped).
A certain Mrs. Blackwater (Cynthia Whalen) presides over the whole mess, although for the life of me I can't figure out why or how. Her menacing assistant, the Officer (Sean McIntyre), ends up killing most of the terrorists, while Mrs. Blackwater is taken hostage by the gang. I'm not so sure how this is achieved and what the goals are here either.
Sometime before he murders everyone, the Officer has sex with Allison (Betsy Lippitt), after which she calls him a pig and tells him she hates herself. Again, it's not clear why; maybe she knew he had a violent streak.
Thanks to the generic nature of the set (a few foam rubber beds necessary for all that sex), it's not always clear where these characters are. Two plasma television sets tuned into various blurred images preside over the action and every once in a while seem related to it.
During the first half of the show I had a great deal of trouble even getting the basics of what was going in. This was not entirely a bad thing, as it kept me from noticing the poor quality of the acting and the directing.
Just Cause is an ensemble piece with over a dozen characters, many indistinguishable from each other. The girls giggle. The guys bluster. Just about everyone seems to have a yelling scene. Very little doesn't look like something that hasn't been seen onstage before when a bunch of young people get together to put on a play.
Just Cause features The Bats, The Flea's resident company of young theater talent. In truth, the show may be fine for a teenager or a very young adult. But one can't help wishing young actors and directors would learn their art with Ibsen and Shaw before venturing out on more dangerous waters.