By Will Kern
Directed by Joe Jahraus
At Profiles Theatre
Extreme violence and much shouting brands Kid Sister
The world premiere of Kid Sister by Will Kern, who penned HELLCAB which run in Chicago at Famous door Theater from 1992-2001, is a ferociously violent drama about low-life “white trash” from Tampa, Florida. It contains one of the most despicable characters seen on a Chicago stage in recent memory. The talented young actress Allison Torem plays Demi Williams with so much manic energy, so much screaming and shouting that quickly Demi becomes a hated, narcissistic irritant that we love to hate. Once Torem tones down her ranting a tad, she’ll have somewhere to go with her angst. At the rate Torem (and others) scream and shout, its a wonder that her voice will last through a week of performances.
Demi is a sexy 19-year old single mom and American Idol wannabe who is an uneducated girl living a fantasy that finds her auditioning in Miami for AI, then immediately leaving for Hollywood and instant stardom. She really believes that the only thing holding her back is her stalker ex-boy friend, Kendall Fritsch (Marc Singetary). The early scenes find Demi ranting about the psycho ex-boyfriend to her self-appointed boyfriend Babe (Eric Burgher) – a gentle soul who loves Demi and assumes the care of the baby allowing Demi to plot her escape to Hollywood.
Demi cons and cajoles her ex-con brother Cassius (Darrell W. Cox) into helping her deal with her stalker boyfriend. Cassius is reluctant to use violence because he doesn’t want to return to prison. Demi is relentless and determined. Eventually Cassius gets Demi to agree to give custody of the baby to Cassius in exchange for him to rid Demi of the stalker boyfriend. This raw “Modern Dime Novel” is filled with extremely dysfunctional characters unable to deal with reality and incapable of resolving conflict.
There is loads of physical violence including a stabbing, several shootings and a cut throat. Much of the dialogue, especially from Demi is screamed so loud that the sound almost knocks us out of our seats. This production really needs to lower the shouting a decibel or two. Surly, a varied volume would effectively to convey emotions. Add the surprising violence and you certainly have a gutsy, visceral action-packed drama.
We see how Demi will stop at nothing to realize her dreams of fame and fortune. When she sings her audition song for Babe, Cassius and Greta (Emily Vajda) the upstairs neighbor, both us and Demi finally realize that she has no talent. She now must go to her personal play ‘B’ which involves her moving with her brother. With a stabling and a death, Demi becomes desperate. Cassius tries for personal redemption but becomes destroyed by Demi.
The action and the well choreographed violent scenes are shocking and scary but the din from the screaming (especially fromTorem) made the work hard to endure. If raw, emotionally wrenching theatre with an evil, child-like girl maneuvering the men in her life appeals to your theatrical tastes then Kid Sister will rock your world. I become irritated with all the screaming. This show is a powerful experience for brave at heart; it is not for children or those who are deeply affected by graphic violence.
At Profiles Theatre, 4147 N. Broadway, Chicago, IL, call773-549-1815, tickets $30 – $35, Thursdays thru Saturdays at 8 pm, Sundays at 7 pm, matinee on Saturdays at 5 pm, running time is 85 minutes without an intermission.