In St. Louis, most theater audiences have the polite custom of giving almost anything they see a “standing ovation,” or at least they make it look that way as they get up to leave. When it comes to theater, we try to be a very polite town.
But in the case of The Rep’s new main stage production, “God of Carnage,” the standing applause at the end is the real deal. This irresistible show captivates with its wicked humor, powerful emotions, unpredictable vehemence and drop dead honesty.
Done in one-act and running about 95 minutes, it all takes place in an upscale apartment in Brooklyn. Two couples have gathered to discuss an altercation their 11-year-old sons have had, which left one of the boys missing a couple of teeth. One of the couples is a well-to-do professional type. He’s a big-time corporate counsel for a pharmaceutical firm with a new drug that is coming under fire. His wife seems prissy.
The other couple has a retail home goods business, with the wife being a typical east coast do-gooder type.
What begins as a polite discussion among the parents about how the two boys can best understand and settle the incident (with shades of possible legal action by the parents smoldering right under the surface) turns into a drunken round-robin debate, full of surprises and insults, plus excellent physical humor, that will have you sometimes laughing out loud
The get-together turns into a free-for-all marriage discussion group, primed by some very fine booze.
You won’t meet the two boys in “God of Carnage,” but you will experience the aftermath of their tussle, that sometimes translates into some very poignant flashes of searing honesty. This show’s writing is nothing short of brilliant. It’s full of unexpected moments that cut to the quick. The cast consists of Eva Kaminsky, Anthony Marble, Susan Louise O’Connor and Triney Sandoval. They are all exceptional, especially Sandoval, who can literally explode on stage.
It is written that in the beginning was the word, and the word was God. “God of Carnage” proves it.
“God of Carnage” will run at The rep through November 6.