Monday, March 21, 2011

Alliance Theatre Lab: The Brothers Beckett (3 reviews)

The Alliance Theatre Lab opened its world premiere production of David Michael Sirois' The Brothers Beckett on March 17, 2011
Kevin Beckett is a Yale Alumnus who is awaiting the arrival of his beloved girlfriend named Tuesday, who will be spending a perfect week with him and his roommate and brother, Brad. When Kevin divulges to Brad he will be proposing, Brad tries to find any way possible to keep his brother from moving out of their bunk bedded, pink walled studio apartment.

Brothers Beckett marks the first World Premier production from our Resident Playwright and Ensemble member David Michael Sirois.
Alberto Acevedo directed a cast that included David Dearstyne, David Sirois, Kaitlyn O'Neil, Shira Abergel, and Mark Della Ventura.

Bill Hirschman reviewed for South Florida Theater Review:
Brothers Beckett is a Neil Simon-esque message farce for the Generation X-Box crowd, The Odd Couple for young men raised on Spider-man and Star Wars. Alliance’s resident playwright (David Sirois) joins Adam Rapp and Neil LeBute in dissecting a Not-Quite-Lost Generation.
His hilarious script is lifted even further by the driving, ping-pong direction of Alberto Acevedo and a preternaturally tight ensemble effortlessly riffing off each other’s licks like jazz musicians.
One joy for a regular theatergoer is to see someone they thought was merely an adequate actor finally get the right script and the right direction to reveal what they really can do. Earlier this month, we saw Marckenson Charles do it in Superior Donuts. Now it’s Dearstyne, who was just okay in Speech and Debate, but here proves to be a gifted comic actor with a goofy smile, energetic earnestness, sad eyes and that unexpected body language.
Just as good, just not as showy, is Sirois himself who has a delightfully dry delivery and an almost naturalistic style like Tom Hanks or Jack Lemmon. Della Ventura occasionally has to fight the Alliance Curse of muttering lines and underplaying into invisibility. But most of the time, he’s got the same comic chops as the other two, exuding a good-natured Seth Rogen vibe.
Brothers Beckett, the first original script in Alliance’s history, should encourage audiences to see the rest of their season: Sam Shepard’s Fool For Love in June and [title of show] in November.
Christine Dolen reviewed for The Miami Herald:
The first world premiere for the Miami Lakes-based Alliance Theatre Lab, Brothers Beckett is a gamble that pays off big time. Sirois, a New World School of the Arts grad, has written a number of short and full-length plays. But Brothers Beckett, which will be for many a first exposure to the actor’s work as a playwright, reveals a craftsman’s skills. In shaping an engaging story told by vividly drawn characters through observantly witty dialogue, Sirois becomes a significant new voice among the region’s small-but-growing group of playwrights.
As staged by Alliance artistic director Adalberto Acevedo (who also designed the Becketts’ dorm room of an apartment), Brothers Beckett also underscores the way that young South Florida-educated talent is becoming a force in local theater.

Mark Della Ventura, who plays the Becketts’ best-bud neighbor Doug, and Shira Abergel, who plays Kevin Beckett’s dream girl Tuesday, are (like Sirois and Dearstyne) products of New World. Kaitlyn O’Neill, a University of Miami grad, plays the brothers’ friend Joyce. All have worked at a variety of South Florida theaters, but seeing their sizzling chemistry and easy shorthand pay off so handsomely in this production is a real treat.
With uniformly terrific performances, Brothers Beckett is that rarity, a play that speaks resonantly to its young characters’ contemporaries while entertaining a much broader audience. Though play development doesn’t always work out this way, for the evolving Alliance, taking a risk on a new script by a young writer has brought bountiful artistic rewards.
Roger Martin reviewed for Miami ArtZine:

There's almost too much to like in Brothers Beckett, the new play by David Sirois receiving its world premiere at the Alliance Theatre Lab.  And what a smart move by Adalberto Acevedo in choosing this piece and directing it.  And what a smart move casting Sirois in his own play.  And adding Shira Abergel, David Dearstyne, Mark Della Ventura and Kaitlyn O'Neill to give us five of the best young actors performing today.
But it's not all about the acting.  Sirois' script is terrific.  Think tight, tender, irreverent, vulgar and very, very funny.
The Alliance Theatre Lab  production of David Michael Sirois' The Brothers Beckett will run through April 3.

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