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A Kid Like Jake
a Drama
by Daniel Pearle

COMPANY : Out Front Theatre Company [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Brady Street Theater [WEBSITE]
ID# 5037

SHOWING : February 09, 2017 - February 26, 2017



On the eve of the admissions cycle for Manhattan’s most exclusive private schools, Alex and Greg have high hopes for their son Jake, a precocious four-year-old who happens to prefer Cinderella to G.I. Joe. But as the process continues, Jake’s behavior becomes erratic and perplexing, and other adults in his life start to wonder whether his fondness for dress-up might be cause for concern. The story of a husband and wife struggling to do right by their son, "A Kid Like Jake" is a study of intimacy and parenthood and the fantasies that accompany both.

Judy Lisa Boyd
Greg Justin Dilley
Alex Lauren Megan
Nurse Kasie Marie Slay
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Jakey Script, Good Production
by playgoer
Monday, February 27, 2017
Out Front Theatre Company’s production of "A Kid Like Jake" takes place across multiple locations in New York City -- the apartment of married couple Greg (Justin Dilley) and Alex (Lauren Megan McCarthy), the schoolroom of friend Judy (Lisa Boyd), a doctor’s examination room, and a restaurant. Michael Murphy’s set design fits these all onto the wide stage with style. The apartment’s living room is on a raked platform in the center, with tapered ribs of its supports spilling onto the stage floor. Walls are just suggested by framing (although a couple of real doors exist), with butterfly artwork nicely mirrored in the schoolroom stage left as children’s drawings and in the examination room stage right as a print. Light fixtures of various styles hang above the various locations. Charles Swift’s lighting design delineates the various locations and projects suggestions of a New York City skyline on the cyclorama.

Atmosphere is also provided by John Burke’s incidental music, consisting mostly of solo piano. Sound design by Paul Conroy and Jacob Demlow also enhances the production, with nice phone and restaurant effects. Stephanie Carter’s costume design, while largely restricted to modern-day styles, does a good job of allowing quick changes from scene to scene. Myriad props, controlled by property mistress Allison Bennett, make each suggested location supremely realistic.

Staging and acting are as professional as the physical production is. Lisa Boyd is completely natural as teacher Judy, offering advice in her soothing voice in early scenes, yet holding her own as tensions rise in later scenes. Kasie Marie Slay, in the small roles of a nurse and a dream Snow White, holds her own too. The performances of Ms. McCarthy and Mr. Dilley drive the show, and their interactions are fluid under Paul Conroy’s direction. The conflicting parenting styles they embody emerge organically from their performances, with a riveting dramatic flow rising to hurtful shouting matches as the play heads toward its conclusion.

The conclusion of the play is hardly conclusive. Mr. Pearle’s script seems to lose direction a bit in a Snow White dream sequence, and the only true resolution seems to be that the unseen Jake has entered analysis to help deal with his gender and anger issues. After nearly two intermissionless hours, the ending comes none too soon. Still, the journey up to the dream sequence has been engrossing, bringing us into the lives of two somewhat befuddled parents whose child does not conform to societal gender norms. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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