Ghost Light Players has only been around for a couple years, but their productions feel like they’ve been doing it for years. Their latest, God of Carnage, is no different. It’s a top-quality production of Yasmina Reza’s 2009 Tony Award winning comedic-drama that is being staged at The Shadowbox Theatre for two more weekends.
It’s a one-act play involving two couples who meet to discuss a fight between their young sons. The play made its London debut in 2008 and subsequently won a Laurence Olivier Award. The Broadway production of God of Carnage, which opened a year later, was also critically acclaimed, and it earned a Tony Award for best play. A 2011 film version (titled Carnage) also emerged starring Kate Winslet, Christoph Waltz, John C. Reilly and Jodie Foster.
The play takes place in the Cobble Hill neighborhood of Brooklyn, where Alan, a corporate lawyer, and Annette, who works in wealth management, visit the apartment of Michael, a wholesaler, and Veronica, a writer, to discuss how to deal with a fight between Alan and Annette’s son, Freddy, who hit Michael and Veronica’s son, Bruno, with a stick, breaking two of his teeth. The parents have gathered at Michael and Veronica’s home to discuss, rationally and amicably, how to deal with the boys. At least that’s how the play starts.
It just gets crazier from here on in. Sarcasm, verbal assaults, booze and a little chaos make this show an enjoyable and entertaining potboiler for an hour and a bit. The pandemonium increases as the show goes on and then all hell breaks loose.
We get to be an observer of human nature from the outside exploring irrational and emotional behaviour first hand. And from the outside, it can be pretty damn funny at times. So much so, it felt a bit like watching a disorderly television sitcom. Kinda like a passionate hockey mom and dad at a children’s game.
This Ghost Light production has a starry cast to bring it to life. Jeffery Bastien (Alan), Kristen Dias (Annette), Matt Maenpaa (Michael) and Elinor Price (Veronica) pack a pretty mean one-two punch. We get to see each of the actors stretch their characters from meek to maniac in a very short time frame. Outstanding moments included Price’s patience being tested when Dias requires a bucket to help contain her anxieties, Maenpaa using a hair dryer to save a cellphone and the outstanding and thrilling climactic ending.
God of Carnage isn’t the only Yazmina Reza show this troupe is tackling as well. Ghost Light is a finalist at the Western Ontario Drama League for its production of Art. The festival is being held in Cambridge from March 16-21 with Ghost Light taking on Owen Sound Little Theatre, Theatre Sarnia Fun, Kitchener-Waterloo Little Theatre and Elora Community Theatre. If they pack half the fight of Annette and Veronica, they’ll knock ‘em dead.
God of Carnage continues at The Shadowbox Theatre (Corner of Shepherd and Howard in Windsor, ON) from March 12-14 and 19-21. Tickets are available for $20 in advance (https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/god-of-carnage-tickets-86996104691) or $25 at the door.