The Staunch Theatre Company’s compact but psychologically acute play Nephrectomy seeks to depict the angst, insecurities, and aimlessness of three contemporary 20-somethings through the story of an unreciprocated crush and its unlikely aftermath. The production achieves this goal, though its narrative and thematic centerpiece – the figurative and possibly literal removal of a kidney, which also comes to symbolize a broken heart – may leave audiences straining to willingly suspend their disbelief.
Smitten, deceived and ultimately rejected by the immature and emotionally unavailable Luke (Josh Heard), the bashful Honor (Michelle Norris) devises an unusual form of revenge – and manages to learn a thing or two along the way. Her friend Mattie (Lauren Padgett), whose spunk, sexual confidence and humor provide an obvious dramatic foil to Honor’s own timidity, unintentionally guides this process, spurring Honor to voice the deeper fears and self-doubts that both underlie and transcend her misbegotten infatuation.
Elizabeth Hagerty, the play’s writer and director, draws terrific performances from her three-member cast, who manage to create sympathetic, credible and emotionally complex characters despite some of the play’s more absurd plot twists. If you don’t believe the story, you’ll still believe the protagonists, and Nephrectomy deserves an audience for that alone.
Running Time: 60 Minutes.
2013 Capital Fringe Show Preview: ‘Nephrectomy’ by Elizabeth Hagerty