nytheatre.com review by Soline McLain
Did you ever wonder what it would be like living with Mrs. Cleaver or
Donna Reed? Playwright Rachel Axler gives a hilarious glimpse into how
this "other half" lives in her surreal new comedy, Kitchen Sink
at the Cherry Lane Alternative.
August 15, 2003
The play starts off as the typical sitcom family, Mr. and Mrs. and their son Billy and daughter Sarah, sit around the kitchen table eating the dinner that Mrs. has cooked. However, there seems to be something strangely different about this foursome… and this particular kitchen. Within the first five minutes of the play, the audience learns that not only does this family live in their kitchen (in a rather Sartrean No Exit manner) but that the kitchen is also built over a graveyard. Since both the children have been taken out of school (for their own "protection," Mrs. explains), Billy looks for friendship in his own backyard. When Mrs. discovers the corpse of Moses hidden in her kitchen cupboard, with a smile on her face she says that it is "better than any history lesson I could have planned." However, their "utopia" cannot last forever. As their world is invaded by the outside, in the form of a knock on their door, they undertake emergency procedures that lead to both tragedy and hilarity.
Jess McLeod has done an excellent job directing this piece. She has chosen her "family" so well that this is one of the best ensemble performances that I have ever seen. As Mrs., Jill Van Note becomes Donna Reed on acid. She is absolutely hilarious as she gives her children life lessons and maxims to live by and continues to smile no matter what happens. Harrison Hogan provides the perfect balance as Mr., who wants to be head of the household yet does not seem to have what it takes to wear the pants in this family. Matt Mercer as Billy and Rachel Viola as Sarah have a terrific rapport with each other. The only problem that I had with Kitchen Sink was that it left me wanting more. (The ending does seem a bit abrupt). However, Kitchen Sink is everything but your ordinary "kitchen-sink" drama.