I know I’m hard on the San Jose Rep, it’s no secret. I expect a lot and hold them to a high standard. I’ve seen great work done there and I’ve seen great work done other places on 1/10th the budget. I was very much looking forward to God of Carnage and it was almost all the way there but still fell short of my expectation. Sincerely, some fantastic timing, facial expressions, solid acting and a fun plot that was easy to follow, but over all, despite great acting and chemistry, too many details got lost in the shuffle.
A cellphone which takes on the hilarious role of the fifth character, seemingly gets answered repeatedly without being “answered.” Although I might believe that instantaneous answering is possible, the comic potential of that extra motion it takes to answer the call could have been a hilarious compliment to the phone ringing in the first place.
Along similar lines, one character is horrified (as was this audience member) at the messes being made from an untidy multitasker, and yet for all the humor in that, what stuck out was the same neatnick brushing crumbs on to the carpet a few minutes later. I kept thinking a dustbuster would be hysterical, or even brushing them into her hand and walking around with it for a while torn between the polite choice of staying with her guests and disposing of the offending bits.
The sound was inconsistent too and there were a few other minor issues, including it needing a short intermission so I can’t say I was in love with this production. It tried too hard in places and not hard enough in others. It does however win a prize for best carpet and a major high five to the crew that has to clean up every night. Props to the props peeps, your special “rigging” had just the right consitency and shock factor.
The challenges aside, I will say there is a special appreciation I think parents and teachers had for this play and I don’t think I’ve seen the SJ Rep audience in stitches like this in some time. Unfortunately, for me I wanted tears of laughter and I got 90 minutes of sporadic healthy chuckles instead. Another 3 1/2 jewels out of 5 in the review tiara for a show that is silly enough but left me wanting a lot more. God of Carnage played through April 15th in San Jose.