When entering Odyssey’s initmate theatre for Yasmina Reza’s mad-cap dark comedy, God of Carnage (translated by Christopher Hampton), it is a pleasure to peruse Tyler Scrivner’s ideal scenic design. The set dressings clue one into the kind of people who inhabit the dwelling: modern art on the walls, expensive imported flowers on a low table, under which are some art books. Other high-toned tchotchkes abound. A delightfully arch opening spiel by a couple of giddy youngsters sets the tone for the theatrical mayhem to ensue.
Two upper-middle class couples are gathered in the home of Michael and Veronica Novak (Matthew Downs and Lisa LoCicero) to discuss a juvenile dust-up between their 11-year-old son, Henry, and Benjamin, son of Alan and Annette Raleigh (Jack Esformes and Leilani Smith). It was a fairly vicious fracas that busted two of Henry’s teeth.
Michael is a big jovial guy, the owner of a thriving business; Veronica is a neat, pleasant just-so kind of person. Alan is a lawyer and wears a business suit. He seems to spend most of the show with a cell phone glued to his ear. There is an undertone of something not quite kosher about his calls. Annette has a mien of long suffering weariness.
Things go along smoothly at first, but soon start to deteriorate into delicious, vicious slap-stick comedy that has the audience roaring with laughter. And then there is the hamster. If you love your comedy dark and physical with flawed characters brought low, you cannot do better than God of Carnage.
The direction of Peter Allas makes it all happen; kudos! And a show rides on the work of the creatives: they are costume designer Mylette Nora; lighting designer Gavan Wyrick; sound designer Jesse Mandapat; property design Jenine MacDonald; graphic design Kiff Scholl, AFK Design; and casting directors Michael Donovan, CSA and Richie Ferris, CSA. The production stage manager is Angelica Diaz Estevez.
God of Carnage is produced by Racquel Lehrman, Theatre Planners and presented by Foursome Productions and Adriano Aragon.
It runs Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays at 8pm and Sundays at 2pm through May 29
God of Carnage is A Visiting Production at
The Odyssey Theatre
2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd.
Los Angeles CA 90025