CAUSE FOR ALARM
nytheatre.com review by Natily Blair
Performcat and David R. Gerson produce a refreshing and delightful
whirlwind of a play. Cause for Alarm is a wonderful,
non-linear ride. Plot is not the strong point of the piece, and
seems peripheral to the language, which is crisp and tasty like
a potato chip. It has a unique and pleasantly surreal tone, and
while it flirts with being overly clever it doesn’t cross the
line too often.
August 15, 2002
Writer Jenny Schwartz brings a refreshing and distinctly feminine sensibility to this offbeat universe. The dialogue channels both Christopher Durang and Edward Albee—funny, direct, and quick, with a lingering aftertaste of sincerity. Director Ken Rus Schmoll does a beautiful job of orchestrating humanity within insanity. These people may be crazy, but for the most part, they are authentic and it's a blast to watch them freak out.
The play loosely follows Margaret’s (Maria Dizzia) journey away from the madness of her boyfriend, her coworkers, and her psychotic mother. Dizzia doesn't overdo the simple language she is given, and the result is lovely and grounding amid chaos. Her journey isn't really what keeps you interested, though—it is the velocity of the playful language.
Annie McNamara steals the show as Margaret’s coworker, Candace. She delights as she prattles about her former boss, challenges people about her weight, and scolds herself for asking people where they bought things. She's ferociously funny as she chucks her doughnut across the stage in a fit of hysterics. Hope Salas brings frightening and overworked energy as Margaret's mother. You can see why her daughter sticks with brevity. Dan Johnson brings about giggles both as Dr. Strongman and the eight-year-old son of Margaret's boss, Peter (Gibson Frazier). Patrick McNulty impresses in a short epilogue, as does the short and sweet stockboy, Frank (Karl Herlinger).
Cause for Alarm will tickle you and leave you with some touching and beautiful lines that stay with you on the way to the nearest Krispy Kreme.