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A CurtainUp Review
Killers and Other Family
By Elyse Sommer
I can see where Thurber has sharpened her characters somewhat and director Caitriona McLaughlin has assembled a splendid cast and wisely abandoned some of the first helmer's excessive flourishes (no operatic accompaniment to a sexual encounter that's really a rape scene).
The parenthetical tagline, A Play that Function as a Waking Nightmare, that Thurber has added to her script should probably be included in the program. Perhaps if seen as a nightmare what happens on stage might be seen for what it is rather than to expect the audience to accept it as believably real.
Whatever the changes in the script and the staging (the loud music is toned down, the set though a bit too bright and cheery is an effective visual warning not to take first appearances at face value), Killers and Other Family is still more a case study in psychotic behavior and neurotic neediness than a truly satisfying play. While some audience members at the performance I attended burst into laughter several times (Aya Cash's Claire does have some funny lines), this is not a dark comedy, but simply, a dark, unpleasant to watch play (Don't let the foursome's genial enough looking lunch in the picture I've included fool you). While the cast and the director are to be commended for maximizing the play's tension, this production ultimately doesn't completely alter my original opinion. I'm therefore continuing this review with a re-post of my original take, followed by the current production notes.
Other Lucy Thurber plays at Curtainup:
Scarcity at Atlantic Theater (2007)
Stay at Rattlestick 2007
Where We're Born at Rattlestick 2003