Thursday, March 3, 2011

Informal review: The Smell of the Kill

Posted By on Thu, Mar 3, 2011 at 3:14 PM

Going into last night's dress rehearsal for The Smell of the Kill, all I knew about the storyline was what I learned from the Springs Ensemble Theatre's YouTube trailer for the show ... something about golf balls.

You can view it here:

Since this was a final run-through before tonight's opening, consider what follows a casual review, offering general impressions:

SET's new space at 1903 E. Cache la Poudre St. is an intimate black box set behind a comfy lobby area with beautiful old wood flooring that screams, "Hey — I used to be a cute neighborhood market back in the day."

The black box doesn't quite live up to the name yet, since it still has a white drop ceiling that will later be opened up to hang lighting. The all-volunteer company, which formerly staged shows at venues under the Colorado Avenue bridge, has only been here a short time and has a long list of overhauls planned.

This roughly 90-minute show seats only 40, so get ready to feel like you're sitting in the kitchen with Nicky (Lisa Siebert), Debra (Miriam Roth Ballard) and Molly (Jodi Papproth) as they brutally dissect each others' relationships while also arguing over much bigger stakes: whether to let their husbands out of a basement meat locker in which they've accidentally become trapped.

Miriam Roth Ballard (right) plays Debra, a slightly stiff do-gooder whos somewhat repressed her dissatisfaction with her marraige and life. Jodi Papproth plays Molly, a sweet airhead with a naughty side and easily swayed loyalties.
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Miriam Roth Ballard (right) plays Debra, a slightly stiff do-gooder who's somewhat repressed her dissatisfaction with her marriage and life. Jodi Papproth plays Molly, a sweet airhead with a naughty side and easily swayed loyalties.

Yes, we're talking about quite a black comedy. Each woman, of course, has a fairly compelling argument for why she cares to off her hubby, and you hear about how much of an ass each one of them is.

Nicky (Lisa Siebert) is one bundle of personified bitterness. Her husband is in big trouble with the law, leaving her and her baby in a tough spot. When her husband commands her to make dessert for the guys, she hand-whips some cream and puts it over his golf balls with a garnish of bug spray.
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Nicky (Lisa Siebert) is one bundle of personified bitterness. Her husband is in big trouble with the law, leaving her and her baby in a tough spot. When her husband commands her to make dessert for the guys, she hand-whips some cream and puts it over his golf balls with a garnish of bug spray.

The men are entirely dehumanized, reduced to only voices from backstage occasionally heard from behind a swinging door. Only one set of male hands is seen by the audience, dressed in golf gloves that are basically symbolic of some rich prick who cares more about his par than his wife's feelings.

You will likely recognize Siebert from Star Bar Players shows like Five Women Wearing the Same Dress, and Roth Ballard from other Star Bar shows and several FAC Theatre Company shows such as The Full Monty. Papproth runs the Cheyenne Mountain High School's theater department.

Sometimes youve just got to learn when to keep your mouth shut and play along.
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Sometimes you've just got to learn when to keep your mouth shut and play along.

The script offers some great, scathing one-liners for the women to chew on, and a generally caustic tone fit for furious gazes and aggressive physical action. Papproth easily earns the most laughs as the clueless character, also gifted with a ridiculous costume that continues to be amusing long after its reveal.

Siebert seethes to great satisfaction, and Roth Ballard really comes alive in the second half of the play, when her character is bullied into submission.

It's a fun show that doesn't struggle to be profound in any major way. We all have pains-in-our-asses somewhere in our lives and problems we all wish we could just lock away somewhere; it's easy to relate to the women on that level.

Of course, the majority of us wouldn't resort to this method of dealing with our troubles. Which really makes this just a dark fantasy. (What if you could ...? )

Viewed as low-budget, but professional community theater, it certainly succeeds in entertaining. And though it's a female-driven play, the script ultimately displays some serious cojones.

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