|GayFest! Theater Review: The Crumple Zone |
posted by Valerie Temple on Aug 16, 2012 10:00am | comments
| | |
Valerie Temple is the Programming Manager of Bryn Mawr Film Institute,
as well as a filmmaker, video producer and writer whose work has
appeared on such sites as The Awl. This is her first Qfest and she is
super excited about it. You can follow her on Twitter or stalk her on Facebook.
Set in the late 1990s, Three's Company-style hijinks afflict the three gay roommates of The Crumple Zone during a bleak Christmas in their Staten Island apartment.
Christmas is a horrible time for everyone. If you're not preoccupied by your drunken uncle's antics or your grandma's not-so politically correct rants, you're sure to be putting out some kind of emotional fire or dealing with an unwanted drama. In that vein, The Crumple Zone (part of GayFest) tells the all-to-relatable tale of three roommates who stumble through the holiday season propped up by booze and sexual indiscretions.
Although set during the Christmas season, the "crumple zone" of the title does not refer to the crumpled paper that one would be surrounded by after opening too many gifts from loved ones. Instead, it is a dark metaphor referring to the section of a car designed to compress during an accident to absorb the energy of an impact. Absorbing the bulk of the emotional impact in The Crumple Zone is Terry (an animated Kienan McCartney), who must endure as his longtime roommate cheats on his boyfriend of four years, who is also his roommate. (Awkward!) Despite his best (and bitchiest) efforts, Terry fails to influence the situation and things get out of hand when the cuckolded roommate unexpectedly returns from his roadshow duties in Salem's Lot: The Musical. Can Staten Island in the 1990s get more depressing?
Even though the nimble ensemble gels early on in this very funny two-act play, the second half really delivers because the appearance of the third roommate Matt (Zachary Chiero) pays off everything that had been teased in the first act. I loved the hilarious subterfuge as Terry tried to protect Matt's feelings while pretending to be the boyfriend of Buck (Peter Zielinski), who had really been spending the last few months falling for Matt's husband Alex (Shamus Hunter McCarty). The laugh break after Terry forced his hand onto a reticent Buck's knee was so big that it was almost distracting, but immensely appreciated.
Star Kienan McCartney stands out but each member of the supporting cast has more than a few shining moments in this bittersweet comedy.