‘God of Carnage’ at Silver Spring Stage

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God of Carnage, originally Le Dieu du Carnage, was written by famed Art playwright Yasmina Reza (ART), and was  first produced in 2006. After critical success in Europe it opened with a new American twist by Christopher Hampton opening on Broadway in 2009. Taking Broadway by storm -all four actors-Jeff Daniels, Hope Davis, James Gandolfini, and Marcia Gay Harden. nominated for Tony Awards for their performances. Harden won the Tony for playing Veronica and the show was also honored as Best Play and Best Direction of a Play for Matthew Warchus.

(L-R) Bob Harbaum (Michael), Alyssa Sanders (Annette), Lauren Kieler (Veronica), and Andrew Greenleaf (Alan). Photo by Harvey Levine.
(L-R) Bob Harbaum (Michael), Alyssa Sanders (Veronica), Lauren Kieler (Annette), and Andrew Greenleaf (Alan). Photo by Harvey Levine.

Renowned Silver Spring Stage and Director Adam R. Adkins take a stab at God of Carnage, and come up with a solid effort.

Director Adkins and Producer Bob Scott have designed a very simple set and minimalist, black and white doorways and furniture with touches of red in the decor (they also provided the sound design). All the design elements are very modest, but effective, including the lighting design by Nate Collard, because the show is not about the décor or set – it is about the relationships four characters intertwined in turmoil over the recent brawl between their two 11 year-old sons, and the comedy that ensues.

This production of God of Canage isn’t a laugh-out-loud comedy. It is filled with light humor with dashes of laugh-out-loud moments from its more than able cast, as the couples go from vigilant allies to turbulent foes.

The show is set in the home of Michael (Bob Harbaum) and Veronica (Alyssa Sanders) in the Cobble Hill neighborhood of Brooklyn. The quintessential upper middle class couple are a hilarious pair. Sanders as the uppity liberal writer and Harbaum as the typical masculine mans-man wholesaler are spot-on in the characterizations. Harbaum is sidesplitting in his defense of the murder of his daughter’s pet hamster “Nibbles” and his straightforward declaration that “children consume our lives then destroy them.” Equally typical, yet somehow very unique, is Sanders as Veronica. Sanders is splendidly passive aggressive as she snipes about the son of the other couple, the Raleighs, “armed with a stick” and “disfiguring his playmate.”

Similarly talented are the parents of the aggressor son, Alan (Andrew Greenleaf) and Annette Raleigh (Lauren Kieler). Greenleaf is  riotous as the high-strung lawyer who is constantly interrupting the conversation with calls on his cell phone, displaying the actor’s impeccable comedic timing. However, as a fan of the show I am surprised the director didn’t make more use of the smarmy nature of the character, Greenleaf was more endearing than annoying as the character is described during the play.

As his wife Annette, Raleigh is delightful as the apologetic mother, and she is handsome and serene as Annette, in the beginning scenes that is. We soon see Keiler unravel in spectacular fashion during the end of the show. It’s a Scene Stealing performance

(L-R) Andrew Greenleaf (Alan), Lauren Kieler (Veronica), Alyssa Sanders (Annette), and Bob Harbaum (Michael). Photo by Harvey Levine.
(L-R) Andrew Greenleaf (Alan), Lauren Kieler (Annette), Alyssa Sanders (Veronica), and Bob Harbaum (Michael). Photo by Harvey Levine.

Enough can’t be said for the talent Director Adkins has assembled. All four actors are seasoned veterans and are very exciting to watch on stage. Adkins keeps the timing tight and the movement of the play engaging.

God of Carnage is a fun show not to be missed. Adkins and his gifted team of actors make for an enjoyable evening of theater. Catch it soon!

Running Time: 90 minutes, with no intermission.

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God of Carnage plays through October 11, 2014 at Silver Spring Stage located in the Woodmoor Shopping Center – 10145 Colesville Road, in Silver Spring, MD. For tickets, call the box office at (301) 593-6036, or purchase them online. There are also a limited amount of $10 tickets available for select performances on Goldstar.

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