NY Theatre Guide Review: ‘God of Carnage’ at the John W. Engeman Theater

Review: ‘God of Carnage’ at the John W. Engeman Theater
By: LORI SPEISER JAN. 31, 2016

God of Carnage, currently on stage at the John W. Engeman Theater at Northport, was written by Yasmina Reza, a French playwright, novelist and screenwriter. She is known for her satiric plays which explore concerns of the middle-class.

“The play is full of humor and great acting.”

God of Carnage is a four-person play about an evening in which two sets of parents gather to discuss how to handle an incident which took place between their young sons. While on the playground, one boy hit the other in the mouth with a stick resulting in two damaged teeth. This awkward situation opens with both couples behaving in a cautiously polite manner. The play’s tagline is “A Comedy of Manners, Without the Manners,” and as implied, the play endeavors to point out how easy it is for people to lose their civilized veneer. As the evening progresses, the conversation veers off course, their behavior deteriorates, and with the addition of rum, disaster ensues.

The play is well-written and cleverly moves the characters along their descent into immature, self-indulgent behavior. As they turn on each other, their loyalties switch along the way. At times it is couple against couple, women against men, then husband against wife. Their behavior should make your crazy relatives or neighbors seem well-balanced.

Along this downward journey there is plenty of humor. Some unexpected moments had the audience erupting in laughter. Physical humor, sexism humor and much more are spread throughout. As their behavior worsened, the comedy increased.

The four actors: Chris Kipiniak, Nancy Lemenager, Mickey Solis and Alet Taylor did an excellent job portraying their different characters. Their facial expressions and body language were animated, expressing thoughts beyond the words of the script. As lines were spoken, the audience was laughing before the anticipated humorous response could be spoken. Their timing was terrific.

Richard T. Dolce did a great job directing. Four people, one set, lots of movement making full use of the stage, deftly moving the actors from calm conversation to farcical chaos.

The play is full of humor and great acting. As it devolves into watching people tear one another apart, you might even learn something about yourself as you laugh at behavior that would disturb you in reality.

Running Time: Approximately 90 minutes. No intermission.

Advisory: The language throughout the play is littered with profanity

God of Carnage is running at The John W. Engeman Theater at Northport, NY until March 6th, 2016. The theatre is located at 250 Main Street, Northport. For tickets, call the box office at (631) 261-2900 or click here.

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