By David Lindsay-Abaire
Directed by Heather Lam
Presented at Breakthrough Theatre, Winter Park FL</strong>
I suppose if you want to tackle spousal abuse and stroke aftereffects and not get run out of town on a tar covered rail Surrealism may be your best approach. Claire (Nikki Darden) has Memento style sleep reset amnesia. Every morning she wakes up a blank slate, although she reads and speaks English and can dress herself with no problems. Thoughtful yet abusive hubby Richard (David Clayton West) keeps a briefing book for her while her snotty son Kenny mostly bums money for drugs. Clare finds delighting everything, even a kidnapping by the mysterious Limping Man (David Strauss) and his slight slow assistant Millet (Dent.) They all rendezvous at Clair’s mom Gertie’s (Jennifer Rhea) place, the artfully undisclosed motivations are revealed, and Gertie gives a speech in stroke talk. It’s all very tasteless, but very funny.
While characters interact just enough to nudge each other’s actions, they spend most of their energy on whatever obsession captures their short attention spans. Kenny loves pot and hates his dad who feels slightly bad he misplaces Claire. The Limping Man bumbles through a carefully unplanned kidnapping wearing a Missing Ear prosthetic that looks like Princess Leia with a hair infection. Tabitha Rox appears as a sweaty fake cop in love with Mr. Ear Fungus while Ms Rhea looks like she was beaten by a makeup man. And a special notice about Mr. Dent – he can’t hula hoop for crap but does a superb job articulating the sock puppet Mr. Hinkey Dinkey. Teach that man some mime, and he’d be ready to hassle tourist on a street corner.
This production was noticeably funnier than the one I saw a few years back, even with the intensely choreographed prop migration that marks each scene transition. I applaud the stage manager (Jess Boutwell) for organization, but this theatre is just a rather large walk in closet. . Lindsay-Abaire’s take on women, abuse and speech impediments can grate occasionally, but if you view the show as an episode of Adult Swim you should easily bury any liberal / humanitarian feelings under a good dose of guilty pleasure.
For more information on Renegade Theater, please visit www.renegadetheaterorlando.org