nytheatre.com review by Ryan Emmons
August 13, 2011
Heads presents two short plays, one that involves human head alternatives and one that involves the presence or absence of heads of cabbage. The two plays, written by Evan Twohy, both offer funny and bizarre looks at romance and relationships.
In the first play, Freshfaced, Colin (Ben Rameaka) has just been promoted to a position that requires him to go home to his girlfriend Lenora (Lauren Adams) wearing different heads. When Lenora is more attracted to the various aspects of the strangers'/appliance-heads that climb through her window, Colin attempts to figure out exactly what a relationship is all about. It should be said that the head masks (designed by Michaela Olsen) steal the show; they are simply hysterical.
The second show, Bubble and Squeak, is about a newlywed couple (John Murray and Morgan Jarrett) on their honeymoon who are detained at customs, accused of having cabbage in their pants which is highly illegal. The couple goes through quite a bit of trouble together and upon their return home wonder if they have lived too much life together in too condensed a period of time.
Both shows are cast with talented members of Upright Citizens Brigade and directed by UCB veteran Will Storie. Rameaka's portrayal of Colin is straightforward and honest, he is a natural presence on stage; and Adams's Lenora is spot on, but the part does not give her character much of a chance to grow. Jarrett is particularly funny as Delores, the lovable, bubbly and somewhat dim wife in Bubble and Squeak. Her timing is impeccable and her facial expressions are priceless. Murray as Declan is the perfect counterpoint to Jarrett's disposition. These are clearly trained comedians who understand how to make an audience laugh, but the play never reached the farcical level that the script and actors seemed to be calling for. Often a scene would start to accelerate and end in some mood lighting and music to cover a costume/scenic change that dropped the energy back to square one. Storie has created beautiful interpersonal relationships and well-crafted comedic tension, but these plays could really fly with a simpler or more creative approach to the transitions between scenes within each play.
It is interesting to see two short plays that are performed and created by sketch comedians because it asks the question where the line between sketch comedy and a play is drawn. Heads does not lead up to a punch line, but rather each play builds up to a conflict that is diffused rather than solved. It left me thinking there was some larger message about love and having too much of what you want—but it was unclear if the endings were sincere or sardonic, so if there is a message, it is muddled.
Overall Heads is a fun and quirky look at everyday relationships in bizarre situations that lead to hilarity. The creative team is talented and well trained and the play will make you laugh, which in my book is always a worthwhile thing to do!