Review "God of Carnage": Divine Comedic Massacre

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GOD OF CARNAGE

At 170 N. Dearborn
Written by Yasmina Reza
Directed by Rick Snyder
Wednesdays, Thursdays, Sundays at 7:30pm
Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm
Thursdays, Saturdays, Sundays at 2pm
Thru April 10th
Running Time:  Ninety minutes with no intermission
Reviewed by Katy Walsh
'Children consume our lives and then they destroy them.'  Two boys fighting on the playground instigate parental interference.  The Goodman Theatre presents triple Tony-Award winning, GOD OF CARNAGE.  Four adults meet to discuss the behavior of their sons.  One boy, armed- make that- furnished with a stick, hits the other boy.  The injured victim lost two teeth.  Through polite conversation, the parents explore the appropriate resolution to the situation.  The amicable exchange takes a savage turn as the level of agreement dissipates.  Parents vs sons. Couples vs couples.  Men vs women.  Everybody vs everybody.  The alliances merge and explode as each's true nature is revealed. It's an uproarious swift ride backwards from civilization to Neanderthal. GOD OF CARNAGE is a divine comedic massacre.  
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Playwright Yasmina Reza uses a simple children's scuffle to exacerbate a childish game of warfare.  The play evolves around the transformation of authentic characters.  The  quartet's metamorphosis happens over coffee one afternoon.  The dialogue begins with diplomatic formality and then advances to visceral bluntness.  The progression is a hilarious deconstruction of human behavior.  Under the sharp direction of Rick Snyder, the talented foursome exploit every human emotion for its comedic value.  The 'stain resistant' adult, Mary Beth Fisher (Veronica) leads the settlement negotiation with passive aggressive flare.  Despite Fisher's exclamation 'I have no sense of humor and I don't have a plan to inquire one,' her multi-level performance is outrageously hilarious.  Her husband Keith Kupferer (Michael) is magnificent as a pacing, caged-in...hamster.  Red-faced, Kupferer pops the cork off his repressed nature and the humor bubbles up and out.  Perking up after puking, Beth Lacke (Annette) is charming in quiet reserve to giggly drunk to raging loon.  Lacke's antics are abruptly hysterical with lingering disbelief snickering.  Continually on his cell phone, David Pasquesi (Alan) is the cynical, ethically questionable lawyer.  As an unapologetic barbarian, Pasquesi delivers zings with wit and honesty.  Pasquesi is despicably on target predicting the downfall of parent-kind. 

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The synergy between the flawed characters is staged perfection.  Even during hostile attacks, a small, insignificant gesture or look bonds the spouses in an affectionate backstory.  Each character reveals vulnerable glimpses that are relatable to your husband, your sister, yourself.  It's this intimate connection that sucks you into the drama AND the comedy.  Adding to to absurdity of the decay of societal protocols, the living room set  designed by Takeshi Kata is sophisticated elegance.  The chaotic interactions result in distinct before and after snapshots of pretend and real life.

GOD OF CARNAGE rules the stage!  No matter what your religious affiliation, GOD OF CARNAGE will unburden your soul with laughs aplenty.  Pray you get down to the House of Worship (aka Goodman) before the mass has ended. 
    
Always enjoying Chicago's array of theatrical experiences, mom says 'absolute amazing acting' and dad goes with 'conflict confusion comedy.'
 
Production photography courtesy of Eric Y. Exit.

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