ADVERTISING AT CURTAINUP
Short Term Listings
BOOKS and CDs
LETTERS TO EDITOR
Writing for Us
A CurtainUp Los Angeles Review
Bullmore takes on the two betes noirs of dysfunctional families— infidelity and parent-child conflicts— and harnesses them to a mordant, sexy chariot that's still on the road when the play ends. Jane and Kev are the parents of two daughters, Jess, six, and Betty, four. The daughters are played by adult actresses whose voluptuousness makes the concept even funnier. Abigail Revasch, in the performance viewed, as Betty and Phoebe James as Jess totally inhabit their assumed ages, both in body language and attitude. They've put the B back in Bratty.
The visual beauty of this concept is how it expresses the way these tiny people can "take up the whole house. I'm sucking for air," in Jane's words. We don't know what kind of parental behavior they were exposed to before the play begins because Kev spends about five minutes greeting Jane lovingly before telling her he's fallen in love with his colleague, Fay. This disclosure is complicated by the arrival of friends Phil and Lorna whom Jane has invited to spend the night. Lorna is played by Stephanie Ittelson, a sleek beauty with a blonde mane which she's chosen to toss and play with like a beloved child. Hair like that often assumes a life of its own and Ittelson uses this irritating cliché to let the accessory upstage the costume.
We learn that Phil and Jane have had an affair and Jane decides to use the moral high ground of letting Kev know to let Kev have it. She also doesn't think much of Lorna. "I can see that she's intoxicating," she tells Phil, "but I don't think she's a worthy custodian of your heart. "
A shocking accident spins the play into new territory and it's still there when it ends. The curtain line belongs to Betty and it somehow grounds the play.
Bullworth has a keen ear for character. Jane, played with naturalistic charm by Mina Badie in the performance viewed, wretchedly gnaws at who she has become. Considering politics and current events, she says with frightened bewilderment, " I used to know these things. Why haven't I read a book in five years?"
Kev, was played by husky James Donovan in the performance viewed (he has to be husky to carry the two grown actresses who play his children) with just the right blend of likeability and obtuseness. David Corbett makes Phil a boyish charmer with a dashing street-smart air. Tiffany Williams' excellent set is scruffy-bourgois and Esther Rydell provides character-driven costumes.
Run, do not walk, to the Lost Theatre for a scintillating cocktail of funny, true and unique.
To read our review of the play's debut in London, go here.