A review by Suzanne Birrell.
The really wonderful thing about Weapons, a new play by Chris Collins and directed by Kiff Scholl, now playing at the Lounge Theatre is that your own dysfunctional family will seem like a breath of fresh air.
Weapons takes place a year after the family matriarch has died from cancer. The youngest daughter Lara has asked her Uncle Bill to visit because Paul, her father and retired police officer, is acting erratically. To stir the pot is the elder sister Sarah who shows up with a grudge against her father and consumed with guilt over what she did to her mother. A calming presence is in the character of May, Paul's live in girl friend who loves who he is. Also introduced is Ellen, a heart throb from the past who loves who he was.
The performances all around are powerful and Weapons is indeed an ensemble piece with each actor giving their all. In particular, Matt Kirkwood as Uncle Bill deliveres an impeccable performance full of subtle colors. Cris D' Annuncio gives the character Paul an amazing amount of energy and focus. Madelynn Fattibene portrays a sensitive and totally believable May. Paige Herschell plays the perpetually intoxicated and hunched Sarah with good focus. Jodi Wofford has more opportunities for color as her sister Lara . Katie May Porter as Ellen, the friend from the past, makes the most of her labile character.
While the performances were totally awesome, the story itself left a lot to be desired. We are never given a reason to care about any of these characters. We are brought into the dysfunction of the family but we never are privy to any redeeming qualities. We hear about how May is good for Paul, but we never see any reason for her to be there and when she leaves we get more of a feeling that it was about time. I never could figure out what Ellen's role was supposed to be. She flirts with Paul and then jumps all over him for not caring when May walks out. Since the character Sarah is constantly intoxicated it's hard to imagine her redeeming qualities. There is a magic moment on the couch where the girls behave as sisters might but it is colored by Sarah's intoxication. Paul is a tragic and labile character from start to finish. We are never given insight to whether Paul and his daughters ever had a healthy relationship. Even Lara and Uncle Bill fail at the end without ever having succeeded in their initial missions.
All that said, there is good tension throughout and the end of the first act was flawless and guaranteed to bring you back for the second.
Weapons, now showing at the Lounge Theatre, is a first rate production. The set design by Pete Hickok is fantastic as were the lights by Donny Johnson and sound by David B. Marling. Costumes by Wendell C. Carmichael and props by Bonnie Bailey Reed all contribute to the quality of the production. The special make-up was particularly outstanding.
DATES AND TIMES:
Through May 8
Fridays and Saturdays - 8 p.m.; Sundays - 7 p.m.
6201 Santa Monica Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90038
*Concessions will be available for purchase at the venue.
General Admission: $25
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Call - (323) 960-7721