STORY: Benjamin and Henry have been in a playground brawl, which results in the loss of at least one—and possibly two—of Henry’s teeth, as well as considerable swelling on the 11-yearold’s face. Henry’s parents, Veronica and Michael, invite Benjamin’s mom and dad, Alan and Annette, to their Brooklyn home to discuss the matter as civilized adults. After all, a simple apology by Benjamin should end the matter, right?
Except that Alan, an attorney, isn’t satisfied with the words used by Veronica in the statement she has so thoughtfully put together. Alan expresses his displeasure with Veronica’s efforts in his pompous and smug fashion, while his meek wife, Annette, does her best to look demur and understanding of everyone. Meanwhile, rough-and-tumble Michael is chafing in his ill-fitting clothes, especially the sport coat that seems out of place for him. The strained, polite conversations quickly degenerate into a survival-of-the-fittest TV documentary.
HIGHLIGHTS:With just four characters, the script by French playwright Yasmina Reza offers plenty of juicy material for its performers under Edward Stern’s careful and studied direction in the current production at The Rep.
OTHER INFO: Reza’s witty and incisive script allows for all manner of comedy, from biting dialogue to pratfalls and physical schtick. The show’s best moment is a priceless bit as the audience watches Alan, played by Anthony Marble, slowly make his way toward Veronica, who is lying crumpled in emotional exhaustion after her attempt at reaching an understanding about the boys’ brawl appears to be defeated. Marble’s carefully calibrated response is both hilarious and unexpected. Triney Sandoval offers a marked and well-crafted contrast as the rumpled Michael. Susan Louise O’Connor, looking frail and petite and sounding subservient to her cocky husband, garners a good share of the laughs with some surprising developments in Annette’s character, including a nifty trick with liquids that Stern and crew pull off in convincing fashion. Eva Kaminsky completes the capable quartet as Veronica, whose optimism and cheerful nature gradually collapse under attack but also reveals her own innate survival instincts. God of Carnage, despite a few bumps along the way, is funny, disturbing, high-brow and low-brow in equal doses, with no one spared under the playwright’s probing prose.
RATING: A 4 ON A SCALE OF 1-TO-5.
Repertory Theatre of St. Louis
VENUE: BROWNING MAINSTAGE, LORETTO-HILTON CENTER, 130 EDGAR ROAD
DATES: THROUGH NOVEMBER 6
TICKETS: $19; 968-4925 OR REPSTL.ORG