Monday, December 10, 2012

Theatre at Arts Garage: Exit, Pursued by Bear (2 reviews)

The Theatre at Arts Garage opened its production of Lauren Gunderson's Exit, Pursued by Bear on December 7, 2012.
Thelma and Louise meets the Coen Brothers in this southern fried fingerlickin’ new comedy!  A contemporary Southern “revenge comedy” that disarms stereotypes of domestic abuse with wild humor, Bear is part I Love Lucy, part Jacobean tragedy, and part feminist power ballad. Set in the North Georgia Mountains, the ever-sweet Nan finally flips the story on her abusive husband, Kyle, taking back her life. With the help of her colorful friends, her idolization of Jimmy Carter, and one violent Shakespearean stage direction, this play ain’t over till the bears are in pursuit.
Louis Tyrell directed a cast that featured Niki Fridh, David Nail, David Hemphill, and Lindsey Forgey.

Bill Hirschman reviewed for Florida Theater On Stage:
This gleeful satire occasionally may seem like a too-extended Saturday Night Live skit even at 70 minutes, but playwright Lauren Gunderson has a delightfully wicked sense of humor matched by Louis Tyrrell’s direction and a madcap cast featuring Lindsey Forgey, Niki Fridh, David Hemphill and David Nail.
Tyrrell has directed this with a steady propulsive pace and he has helped the cast find Gunderson’s tone in which the daffy protagonists blissfully and determinedly pursue their dreams, no matter how wacky.
Nail and Hemphill, returning home for the holidays from pursuing careers out of state, are fine in their roles. But its Fridh (most recently an uppercrust matron in Stage Door’s Rumors) and Forgey (one of Slow Burn Theatre’s leading ladies) who shine like freshly-waxed linoleum, absolutely reveling in lines like “If I was trashier, I’d spit.”
... Bear makes good on Tyrrell’s promise for engaging, off-beat and thought-provoking theater that he brought last summer with Cabaret Verboten.

Christine Dolen reviewed for The Miami Herald:
Artistic director Louis Tyrrell is launching his first full season at Delray Beach’s cozy Theatre at Arts Garage with Gunderson’s play. Though the production values are modest, the show is acted and directed in a way that will remind fans of the defunct Florida Stage of Tyrrell’s fine work there. For him, a playwright’s distinctive voice matters, and so does the notion that theater – even theater as raucous as Exit, Pursued by a Bear – should get an audience thinking.
Fridh is sympathetic as a Jimmy Carter-loving gal who really would rather not turn her husband into bear chow. Nail, a bear of a man himself, nails the squirrely charm of a guy whose sorry-baby spiel is a string of candy-coated lies. Forgey’s would-be thespian is a scantily clad hoot. And Hemphill, who enters wearing a cheerleader’s skirt before switching to way-more-boring pants, pretty much steals the show every time he opens his mouth.

Shakespeare it isn’t. But Exit, Pursued by a Bear is a rollicking example of the kind of theater that revs Tyrrell’s creative engine. And those roars? Sound-effect bears, for sure, but also laughs from the audience.
The Theatre at Arts Garage presents Exit, Pursued by Bear through December 30, 2012.

No comments:

Post a Comment