By Joel Kim Booster
Directed by Sarah Gitenstein
Produced by New Colony Theatre
At the Flat Iron Building, Chicago
Wild dark comedy features intense acting and nicely structured plot line
New Colony Theatre have mounted several unique theatre pieces over the last couple of years. They are committed to having a true collaborative experience for all creatives from the playwright to the actors, everyone helps develop the piece. The results become polished works that are engaging and stage worthy. Their latest work is a dark comedy that is an intense look at the cult of celebrity and how it effects both the stars who are adorned and the groupies who adorn them.
The world premiere of Kate ans Sam Are Not Breaking Up by Joel Kim Booster is a hoot! It combines dark humor with an absurd depiction of the weird world of dysfunctional losers whose obsession with the film stars of a book-to-film series (Ghost Forest) that compels them to kidnap the stars in order for Kate and Sam to reconcile their relationship.
Utilizing the trash-filled dirty set (designed by John Wilson), we meet Bill (Rob Grabowski), a nerdy 30something bachelor who has drugged and duck-tapped Kate ( Mary Williamson) and Sam (Nick Delehanty), the film stars. He is reluctant to explain why he has kidnapped the two until his fellow film groupie Becky (Stephanie Shum) arrives. Becky’s arrival was a manic depiction of the joy she felt upon meeting her two film heroes. We see the extreme obsession both Bill and Becky feel toward Kate and Sam as the real life characters from the Ghost Forest saga.
Playwright Booster has presented a darkly funny yet poignantly violent look a celebrity obsession. We empathize with Bill’s lonely preoccupation with film personae and we are amazed by intensity of the teenage Becky’s neuritic attempt at making Kate and Sam into becoming what her fantasies demand. How Becky and Bill try to get the stars to reconcile unfolds at first as a humorous psychotherapy exercise that quickly evolves into a violent series of events. I’ll not say more so as not to spoil the action.
Let me say that theses fully developed characters are expertly performed by the game cast. Rob Grabowski deftly depicts the idealistic loser while Stephanie Shum is superb as the hyper psycho. Nick Delehanty presents Sam as a shallow yet loving soul. Mary Williamson is the tough, smart and honest film star determined to resist her captives. These four players were terrific in this engrossing world premiere. Those who enjoy dark violent comedies will savor Kate and Sam Are Not Breaking Up – I know I did.
Talk Theatre in Chicago podcast
Date Reviewed: November 9, 2013
For more info checkout the Kate and Sam are Not Breaking Up page at theatreinchicago.com At the Flat Iron Building, Suite 300, 1579 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago, IL, https://thenewcoordinates.org, tickets $20, Thursdays, Fridays & Saturdays at 7:30 pm, running time is 90 minutes with intermission, through December 14, 2013