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REVIEW: God Of Carnage at George Street Playhouse

By Gary Wien


(NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ) -- "God of Carnage," an outrageously funny comedy, closes out the season for George Street Playhouse. The play involves a meeting between parents of two 11-year-old boys that got into a fight where one was badly injured. As the four adults discuss how they should deal with the incident, conversations are often interrupted by a phone calls, personal attacks, and more physical comedy than I think I've ever seen on the George Street stage. Aided by booze, hair dryers, and medicine that should be taken off the market, the play features tension that builds and builds until it finally explodes in an utterly hilarious fashion. This is truly one of those "you have to see it" kind of plays.

Seeing the play on Friday the 13th, I was actually reminded me of the old horror film in the way the playwright (Yasmina Reza) and director (David Saint) created a rather unique form of tension. About 15-20 minutes in, something happens that is digusting, hilarious, and theatrically amazing all at the same time; and, for the rest of the play, the audience is left to wonder if or when it will happen again.

David Saint, George Street's Artistic Director, says in the playbill, "When I first saw 'God of Carnage' on Broadway, my first thought was I can't believe they did that! My second thought was -- I need to bring this to George Street Playhouse."

The play stars four talented actors, three of which have previously been seen on the New Brunswick stage. Ann Harada, who originated the role of Christmas Eve in the Broadway and London productions of "Avenue Q", makes her George Street debut while Betsy Aidem ("Jolson Sings Again"), Christopher Curry ("Sight Unseen"), and James Ludwig ("Ctrl+Alt+Delete") are familar faces at the theatre.

All four do an excellent job of transforming throughout the night. As what was expected to be a brief encounter turns into a much longer one, the characters see their hidden truths revealed; as skeletons are dragged out of the closet, the four form unlikely partnerships. Enemies become allies and then enemies again. It's a whirlwind affair during the final 15 minutes as one character after another finds themselves cornered. In the end, the evening winds up a catylst to one of the worst days of their lives; and they realize they may not be as different as their children as they thought they were.

Before the play began, David Saint addressed the theatre with a tribute to his mentor and best friend, the brilliant playwright Arthur Laurents who passed away on May 5. Saint said the last few weeks were extremely difficult for him as he bounced back and forth from the hospital to rehearsals. "God of Carnage" was a play loved by Laurents and he often told David that he would be in the audience on opening night. Before leaving the stage, Saint looked up to the sky and said, "Arthur, this one is for you!"

"God of Carnage" proves that sometimes the zaniest plays stem from simply living room conversations... First produced in Zurich in 2006, it was translated by Christopher Hampton and had its English debut in London in March 2008. The play then moved on to Broadway where it won the Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Comedy and a Tony for Best Play in 2009. Geore Street's production runs until June 5, 2011 -- get your tickets now!


Photo by T. Charles Erickson


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Holmdel Theatre Company Presents 'ART'
(HOLMDEL, NJ) – The Holmdel Theatre Company (HTC) will present 6 performances of Yasmina Reza’s ‘ART’  from December 7th through December 16th. Translated from French by Christopher Hampton, the play tells the story of what happens when Serge buys an expensive painting, and the reactions of his two closest friends, Marc and Yvan, to his purchase. As what begins as a discussion about the quality of the painting that Serge has purchased quickly devolves into petty jabs and personal attacks, the three men border on destroying their friendships.
Pebble Players Presents "Heathers, the Musical: High School Edition"
(SUMMIT, NJ) -- Celebrating their 10th season, Pebble Players has been entertaining Summit residents and audiences from surrounding towns with sophisticated Off-Broadway quality performances. The 2018 Season opens with "Heathers The Musical: High School Edition," directed by Jayne Myers and choreographed by Jaimie Woodruff.  Performances are Friday, November 16 and Saturday, November 17 at 7:30pm and Sunday, November 18 at 2:00pm. 
NJPAC Presents Duke Ellington's Sophisticated Ladies
(NEWARK, NJ) -- New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) presents Duke Ellington's Sophisticated Ladies from Thursday, March 21, 2019 - Saturday, March 23, 2019. The high-style music of “The Duke” is the heart and soul of this 1981 Tony-winning Broadway hit, directed with dazzle by André De Shields (The Wiz). Mercedes Ellington, granddaughter of Duke Ellington, re-creates the original show’s elegant dancing and tapping as choreographer.
Princeton Chinese Theatre in collaboration with the Lewis Center for the Arts’ Program in Theater present Teahouse by Lao She
(PRINCETON, NJ) --Princeton Chinese Theatre in collaboration with the Lewis Center for the Arts’ Program in Theater at Princeton University will present Teahouse by Lao She on November 16, 17 and 18 at 8:00pm and November 17 at 2:00pm in the Donald G. Drapkin Studio at the Lewis Arts complex on the Princeton campus. Teahouse is considered a masterpiece of contemporary Chinese theater, spanning 50 years in modern Chinese history from the collapse of the Qing dynasty and the Republican Revolution to the birth of the People’s Republic, bringing together over sixty characters who represent all walks of life. The production is directed by senior Changshuo Liu.
Axelrod's Rising Stars Youth Performing Arts Program Presents "Peter Pan"
(OCEAN TOWNSHIP, NJ) --  A family musical that’s perfect for the holiday season, “Peter Pan” is flying onto the Axelrod stage December 8-16. Axelrod’s award-winning Rising Stars Youth Performing Arts program presents one of Broadway’s timeless classics in a fully staged production directed by Lisa Goldfarb with musical direction by Randy Hurst and choreography by Wendy Roman.  


Broadway’s Next H!T Musical LIVE! at Toms River’s Grunin Center
It’s Friday, October 26, 2018, and the Broadway’s Next H!T Musical cast is just about ready to take the stage at the Jay and Linda Grunin Center for the Arts, located on the campus of Ocean County College in Toms River, NJ.
The Last Apple Pie: "Apples In Winter" Opens At Centenary Stage
Jennifer Fawcett’s new play centers around a mother in a kitchen, doing something countless people across America will take part in over the upcoming holiday season: making an apple pie.
See Andrea McArdle LIVE! in Annie at Deal Park’s Axelrod PAC!
Leapin’ Lizards! Annie’s finally made it to the Axelrod Performing Arts Center in Deal Park, NJ, and it stars Broadway’s original Annie, Andrea McArdle, as Miss Hannigan!
"It's a Blast!" Go See Rock of Ages 10th Anniversary Tour NOW! at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino!
The five-time Tony award-nominated Broadway musical, Rock of Ages, returns to the stage with a 10th Anniversary Tour at Atlantic City’s Hard Rock Hotel & Casino! Performed in the venue’s ultra-modern Sound Waves theater, Rock of Ages runs from now until November 4, 2018.
There's One In Every Family: "Charley's Aunt" at The Shakespeare Theatre
On stage now through November 18 at the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, “Charley’s Aunt” is described as “part Oscar Wilde, part ‘Fawlty Towers,’ with a dash of South American spice!” This side-splitting British farce from 1892 has drag, mistaken identity, romance and plenty of physical comedy. Join Jesse and Dave at rehearsals in Florham Park to hear from the cast and director what makes this such a hilarious and enduring show.






Event calendar
Thursday, Nov 15, 2018


MUSIC

New Politics @ House of Independents, Asbury Park - 8:00pm

THE REPUTATIONS @ The Saint, Asbury Park - 7:30pm

TOTO @ Mayo Performing Arts Center (MPAC), Morristown - 8:00pm


THEATRE

An Actor's Carol @ Cape May Stage, Cape May - 7:30pm

ANNIE, The Musical @ Axelrod Performing Arts Center, Deal Park - 8:00pm

Apples In Winter @ Centenary Stage Company - Kutz Theater of the Lackland Center, Hackettstown - 7:30pm

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat @ The Levoy Theatre, Millville - 7:30pm

Spring Awakening: The Rock Musical @ Black Box PAC, Teaneck - 8:00pm







DANCE

PARSONS DANCE @ State Theatre New Jersey, New Brunswick - 8:00pm


FILM

Crybaby Matinee: March of the Penguins @ Hopewell Theater, Hopewell - 11:00am

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