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a Comedy
by James Beck

COMPANY : Lionheart Theatre Company [WEBSITE]
VENUE : College Street Playhouse
ID# 4223

SHOWING : February 10, 2012 - February 19, 2012



"Bleack", a dark comedy by James Beck

Tells the comical story of a newly hired exterminator who manages to find trouble regarding the appropriate use of rope, the proper etiquette on job interviews, the normal routine at a library and his odd fascination with bleach, all on a misguided quest to keep his life clean.

Director Tanya G Caldwell
Rick Carlisle Jason Caldwell
Susan Jessica McGuire
Larry Bob Smith
Click to Submit Cast & Crew Info for this production


Blecch (in a good way)
by playgoer
Wednesday, February 15, 2012
"Bleach" has one of the ugliest set designs I have ever seen. The only good thing I can say about it is that its colors match the colors of the program. One corner of the backing flats is painted in mottled gray/black, while the rest is in pale blue with accents of dry-brush white and a red swag of fabric. Furniture is either matte white or matte red. Different locales need to be suggested by the set, and the lack of uniformity harms some scenes, notably the last scene (in a buffet restaurant). This is truly an ugly set. The only reference to wall colors in the script is Rick's indication that he has painted all the walls of his house white, but none of the scenes take place there. The hideous design scheme goes unexplained.

Luckily, what is going on in front of the set is of more interest. James Beck's "Bleach" is not deep play, but it's well constructed and has a cast of five interesting characters that are played well. The basic situation is that Rick's life is in crisis, his wife having left with their children in the face of Rick's obsession with cleaning. The people he interacts with in his attempts to get a new job or salvage his old one (as an exterminator trainee) make up the rest of the cast. It's a slight story, but one with lots of humorous lines and situations, so it goes down easy.

Director Tanya Caldwell has provided touches that support the script, even in some of its more raunchy aspects. It's a thoroughly competent job, but it never really catches fire. Some of that is due to the numerous scene changes that interrupt the flow ever so slightly. The song choices that cover the changes are humorously appropriate, but in having them play long enough for the point to get across, momentum of the overall play is slowed.

This is not a long play (90 minutes, split across two acts). It could stand a bit of fleshing out, particularly in terms of Rick's relationship with his wife. It's all told and never seen, and some emotional depth might be achieved by letting the audience experience some of their interaction (even if one-sided, in a phone conversation). The act break comes at a crisis point for Rick, and it needs a touch more build-up to ring really true.

In a world premiere production, the need for tweaks often becomes apparent. Let's hope James Beck has the opportunity to make these tweaks in future productions. "Bleach" has a quirky comedic sense, good dialogue, and a pleasing flow. It deserves a future life. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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