Saturday, October 26, 2013

Review: (Toronto) Sucker

Jessica Moss, Andy Trithardt (photo by Zaiden)
Modern (Adams) Family 
by Spencer Malthouse 

When their parents are killed in a whimsical tragedy, Jamie (not-Jewish) decides to be a Rabbi and Beth realizes that she is a vampire. Theatre Brouhaha’s Sucker is an uproariously heart-warming story of a brother and sister struggling with the death of their parents. It is a tragicomic story of the bizarre ways people deal with grief.
The script drives this play through organic conversation littered with puns and smart but accessible references. The actors’ rapid-fire delivery engages the audience and propels the drama. Writer/Director Kat Sandler explores troubling themes with a gift for comedy. Working with a living script she is able to create vivacious characters that are equally kooky and relatable. 

A surprising number of gags that drew uproarious reactions from the audience were lifted directly from the Internet. There is a fundamental difference between a witty reference and simple appropriation. Sandler should stick to the former, at which she excels, and be careful of the latter, which is barely above plagiarism. 

It was often difficult to see the action of the play. The audience is on risers above the stage. This often makes it difficult to see the actors’ faces. Most of the action happening below chest height is obscured. Scenes in which characters sit on the floor are almost entirely lost. 

Every actor demonstrates a brilliant implementation of comic timing, with the exception of Astrid Van Wieren (Constance), who was somewhat flat and jarring. Jessica Moss as Beth conveyed honest feeling and crafted sympathetic characters. Moss amuses us with her adorable attempts at vampirism. Andy Trithardt as Jamie gave a very strong performance, conveying Jamie’s internal conflict between child and adult. 

I strongly recommend this play. Sandler has great potential and the acting troupe provide a raucous evening. You will not find more current and accessible theatre; especially considering this script was finished barely a month ago (I imagine there were many alterations right until opening night). And the picture of Edward Cullen hiding in the corner?  Priceless. 

Sucker runs to November 9. 

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