TIGERS BE STILL
TIGERS BE STILL
Reviewed by Jeffrey R Smith of the San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle
Amy Glazer takes this lively psycho-comedy and keeps the Aspidistras Flying and the laughter rolling from curtain to curtain.
TIGERS BE STILL by Kim Rosenstock makes a close brush with BEYOND THERAPY by Christopher Durang.
Redemptively, Rosenstock’s characters are not quite beyond therapy and a determined, hopeful and iron-willed Sherry—played beautifully and most convincingly by Melissa Quine—is willing to intervene, applying gentle back stick pressure, in an effort to pull everyone out of his or her nose dive.
Sherry is the stage’s answer to Amelie, the French Montmarte Miracle Worker created by writers Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Guillaume Laurant, and directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet in the 2001 film.
While Amelie mends the lives of the wretches of Montmarte, Sherry resuscitates the entire cast and then some at the San Francisco Playhouse.
Sherry’s sister, Grace—an emotional basket case whose only strong suits are her proclivity for undiluted Jack Daniels and her excellent choice of movies to wit: TOPGUN—is a major part of Sherry’s case load.
The pathetic Grace—delightfully played to wretched excess by Rebecca Schweitzer— is a vengeful woman jilted at the threshold of the church and an inevitably dysfunction marriage.
In a spiral of self-absorption; Grace trundles from bed to couch, wading through a slough of self-pity every inch of the way; were it not for the Jack and constant reruns of TOPGUN, one would say her life was pretty much a waste—but then again, how do you argue with good taste?
Zack too is on the ropes, about to go down for the count or get knocked out of the ring of life.
Rising stage star Jeremy Kahn rightly plays Zack: a recent high school grad who finds himself in limbo and arrested development after wrapping his mother around a tree in a car wreck.
Mysteriously, Jeremy’s Zack is more a stoner than an emotionally fried and guilt ridden adolescent: he seems to have patterned his existential angst more from Cheech and Chong than Mike Nichol’s Benjamin Braddock.
Like a meteor landing on the stage, award winning Bill English jumps into the fray, filling in for Remi Sandri as Joseph, the Elementary School Principal who keeps a shot-gun, which he erroneously refers to as a rifle—ah city slickers—locked and loaded to ward off an escaped tiger.
Bill has the ability to translucently laminate his character, a laid back exterior, overlaying a concerned and loving parent to Zack, overlaying a tormented and lonely man who has lost both his wife and the love of his life—that would be two women.
No matter how many loose ends and frayed lives there are, Sherry is there to knit things together and give everyone a swift kick in the butt to get them moving down the highway of life again.
It is Melissa Quine as Sherry who takes a story of human wreckage and makes it into a feel good comedy—it’s a wonderful piece of alchemy worth seeing.
If you like sensitive comedy, hurry, the show closes September 10th, call 415-677-9595 or surf over to www.sfplayhouse.org.