Monday December 11th 2017

“The Earl”

recommended  While I can recommend this play, I must preface this by letting you know that this is a 55 minute fight-fest, with lots of pain and suffering by three solid actors, so if you are someone who does not deal well with pain and blood, even for a short period of time- this is not for you. For the rest of you, Brett Neveu’s “dark” comedy “The Earl”, a story about three dysfunctional brothers who only relate to each other in an annual highly ritualized game they play in an old office that had been their fathers. Peter ( Walter Briggs) is kind of in charge of the game, along with brother Kent ( a very funny Ryan Bourque, who makes pain funny) and brother Rick ( Christopher Chmelik) who has moved to Los Angeles, but does return each year for the “game”.

The “game” has no spectators, is not judged. The rules have been set by the brothers and only the can change them, with at least one other’s agreement.  However, this year, Rick brings his boss, who as an outsider, can win the title of The Earl ( a fabulous job by Danny Goldring, reprising the role he played in the original production, a sort of Clint Eastwood type character who comes at the request of  Rick to be The earl). Once he has taken the others to their knees and is The Earl, he has the power to change the rules, Directed by Duncan Riddell on a sparse set bu John Holt in the very intimate A Red Orchid Theatre in the heart of Old Town, this is a wild fifty-five minute of witty retorts and staged fights ( Choreographed by Chuck Coyl and Ryan Bourque) that always appear as if they are unrehearsed and very natural. On a small stage where the audience is close enough to have the blood get on their shoes, this is no easy task. Joe Court’s sound and Brian Rad’s props are the icing on a very well produced cake.This cast is powerful, energetic and very real!                                                                                  

This is a show that keeps your attention as you never know what will happen next. Who will call a “One” or a “Four”? Who will be in charge of the Tire Iron? Will a new rule take place in the middle of the “game”? Since these actors never allow us to know what is about to happen, it almost appears as we are watching a real “game” where they are truly making up the rules as they go along. This is a quality piece of work and a wild script.Neveu is indeed a writer with a wild imagination. Right now, he has shows all over town. “Odradek” at the House Theatre, “Do The Hustle” up at Writers Theatre and of course “The Earl”. Wild ideas become very creative plays and troupes like The Inconvenience who seek to create new ways of experiencing art have selected a play that truly is unique.  You can catch “The Earl” through  February 23rd with performances ONLY Sunday through Wednesday at 8 p.m. at A Red Orchid Theatre located at 1531 N. Well Street. Tickets are only $15 ( probably the best $15 ever spent for live theater) and can be purchased by calling 773-658-4438 or online at www.theinconvienience.org/earl.html

There are meters on Wells Street and an enclosed parking lot at North/Wells, Piper’s Alley and lots on Wells. Lots of good places to eat and since this is less than an hour, why not get a meal and a show in Old Town.

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