By David Hare
Directed by Bobbie Bell
Starring Kelly Pekar and Jerome Davis
Mad Cow Theatre
It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a Kitchen Sink Drama, but this is an excellent example of the genera. Key markers include stark realism, working class Brits, and a good dose of politics. Here we have idealistic Kyra (Pekar) who teaches underprivileged kids in a bad part of London. The pay is low and she lives in a frigid flat in an inconvenient yet equally despised neighborhood. Her big score is one young man who MIGHT make it out if she tutors him in math at 6 a.m. For recreation, she had an affair with garishly well off Tom (Davis) who builds midprice restaurants for patrons who seek class at low cost. You know what they say about London dining: just go for the curry. On the edge we have the third leg of this triangle: Tom’s young son Edward (Zach Lane) drops in for a visit and brings up a question of etiquette I never considered: is OK to make a play for dad’s ex-mistress once mom is dead? Enquiring minds want to know.
The set is an amazing collection of baked on grease and shoddy accouterments. We only miss the searing cold of Kyra’s apartment; this is, after all, June in Central Florida. Kyra is worn yet still passionate, and the politics revolve around whether she’s doing all these good deeds for her own ego, or a greater cause. Tom points out the obvious: there are millions of poor, and always will be. But if you CAN have a nice meal or a decent bottle of wine, why not? Pekar flashes fiery righteousness, Davis smoldering self-satisfaction, and what intrigued me is rarely seen Edward: he seems so sweet and well meaning, and will it last? After all, the taint of Daddy’s Money hangs over him like a glowering cloud.
As a philosopher once said: Poverty is no shame, but it no great honor either. Kyra is the star here; she’s doing something passionate and for a bigger cause. Tom cheats and pushes where he can, and naturally he’s the successful one. The balance point here is Edward; he could go either: freeze with Kyra or take over the family fortune. This story tends to favor the first, but never really condemns the second. It’s a slice of life and a guided tour of capitalism, but it does have its fun moments.
For more information on Mad Cow, please visit http://www.madcowtheatre.com