‘The Pain and the Itch’ a very funny play about family, deceit and secrets
Rating: Four stars
If you’re wondering what the title means, don’t worry, it’s explained in the play’s second act…And trust me, you’ll never see it coming.
‘The Pain and the Itch’ written by Pulitzer Prize winning (‘Clybourne Park’) playwright, Bruce Norris, is a biting satire about class, race and family.
It’s Thanksgiving and Clay (Eric Hunicutt) and his wife, Kelly (Beverly Hynds) with help from Clay’s socialist mother, (the wonderful April Adams) are preparing dinner.
It’s obvious, that this is an upper class family. They live in a beautiful home in Pacific Palisades and have two children, a baby boy and a four year old daughter, Kayla (Ava Bianchi) who’s seriously in need of a Xanax. .
Like many modern families today, Clay is a stay-at-home dad, while Kelly, a lawyer, is the breadwinner.
Clay tries his best to hide the fact that he’s uncomfortable with this situation. After all, it’s hard to feel very macho, when your wife makes all the money and she’s a bit of a control freak. Well actually, she’s a major control freak.
And when Clay’s super Republican, super successful, brother, Cash (Trent Dawson) comes over with his young, sexy, Eastern European girlfriend, Kalina (the very funny Beth Triffon) it doesn’t take long for Clay’s facade to crack, turning this traditional, happy holiday into total chaos.
Oh, there’s one other thing I must mention…
From the start of the play, there’s a stranger (Joe Holt) on the stage, sitting quietly in the corner and Clay’s been chatting with him. It takes a while for us to understand, who this stranger is and how he’s connected to this family, but when we do…Wow…Trust me, the reveal is definitely worth waiting for.
The ‘Pain and the Itch’ expertly directed by Jennifer Chambers, shows us how one little lie, can cause your whole world, to come tumbling down. It’s a definite must-see.
The play opened at The Zephyr Theatre on October 26th and plays thru December 1, 2013. There won’t be any performances on November 29th.