July 15, 2007

Review: Spitting in the Face of the Devil

Filed under: Last Chance,Listings,Reviews — offoffbway @ 5:45 pm

‘Spitting in the Face of the Devil’
John Montgomery Theatre Company at The Kraine
review by Naneh Israelyan
Spitting in the Face of the Devil
click for full-size image

In a compelling performance, Bob Brader, or Little Bobby as referred to by his family, animates for the audience the story of his childhood through the upbringing of his abusive father. Bob Brader enters the stage to announce the death of his father and thereafter slips into a simple wooden chair centered in the middle of a simple wooden desk—and at this desk Brader draws the audience into his childhood through the magic of storytelling.

An autobiographical story, Bob Brader reproduces certain events of his childhood through immaculate impersonations of family members and friends, elaborate depictions of incidences that have marked his childhood, and smart lighting choices that aid in bringing his words to life. As an audience member, you will find yourself intrigued by this man’s tragically sad past. Certain anecdotes might spark questions as to their significance within the entire picture; however, seemingly insignificant events bring together a larger story by the end of ninety minutes.

Robert A. Brader, Sr., the aggressive and insulting father who inspired a profound hatred within Bob Brader whose only salvation was found in his cloying mother, hides an entirely unforeseen, shocking secret that is revealed half-way through the play. The audience discovers the secret as Bob Brader proceeds in uncovering the truth. Brader’s words compel the audience to such an extent that one might feel as though one is unearthing secrets and experiencing events as Brader makes his movements. Further, the course of the story flows elegantly with successive stories strewn together by complex links among following anecdotes.

The final blow, however, was not half as satisfying as the majority of the play. Although
possessing a dense understanding of the nature of family whose attitudes, manners, and even behavior inevitably may wash over proceeding generations, one might find that Bob Brader’s inability to shy away from his aggressive tendencies disappointing. Despite an unsatisfying closure, Bob Brader keeps the audience at their knees with an engaging knack for storytelling adorned with smart humor and a shattering kind of sadness that will linger in the mind.

‘Spitting in the Face of the Devil’ has one more performance, Monday July 16 @ 7pm. Click here for ticket info.

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