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WRP closes season with compelling show

9/19/2013 - West Side Leader
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By David Ritchey

‘Smell of the Kill’ features ‘excellent’ acting

From left, Cristy Wright, Chris White and Jen Klika share a scene in Western Reserve Playhouse’s “The Smell of the Kill.”
Photo: Michael Kermizis
BATH — Murder takes place on many levels of society. Some think the killing of animals for food could be considered murder. For others, only the killing of another human is considered murder.

Murder is the subject of Western Reserve Playhouse’s production of “The Smell of the Kill,” which is on stage through Sept. 28.

Debra (Chris White), Molly (Cristy Wright) and Nicky (Jen Klika) and their husbands have dinner together once a month. The dinner group rotates to a different couple’s home each month. This month, the dinner group meets at Nicky’s house. The play opens just after dinner. The women are cleaning up the kitchen, and the men are in the dining room playing golf (yes, this group plays golf in the dining room).  

At first, all three women seem happily married, but as they talk, more is revealed about the reality of their relationships.

Nicky’s husband has hunting abilities and equipment. She tells about him spending thousands of dollars they don’t have for a large meat locker for their basement. That’s where he tosses the freshly slaughtered animals until he has time to prepare them for cooking.

Molly’s husband wants her to call him every two hours. He wants to know where she is, if she’s with anyone and what she is doing. She wants children; he doesn’t want to have sex.

Debra’s husband has a local reputation as a philanderer. Debra knows about his reputation but insists she still loves him.

In a break from their golf game in the dining room, the men go to the basement to explore the meat locker. Somehow they get locked in with the dead, frozen animals.

Nicky finds the key to the locker and the three women discuss how their lives would be better or worse if the husband of each died.

To reveal more might ruin the fun for the audience.

White, Wright and Klika are excellent in their roles. The playwright has created three characters who are thrust together and asked to be polite. Yet, they don’t like each other. By the middle of the first act, it’s obvious each woman would like to be in her own home, have a drink alone and prepare to fall asleep. In fact, Debra insists she is going home — she doesn’t like the other women, the other men or her husband. She has a major problem; she can’t find the keys to the car, and she’s trapped with Nicky and Molly.

Playwright Michele Lowe wrote a script that evokes plenty of laughter and some serious thought. Would you be better off without your spouse? After the performance, I noticed many husbands and wives holding on to the arms of their spouse. Maybe they needed a little reassurance that the other would not let him/her die if an accident happened.

Director Alex Nine kept the action moving at a quick pace. He helped the performers develop specific characters. Nine did an excellent job with a clever script.  

For ticket information, call 330-620-7314.


David Ritchey has a Ph.D. in communications and is a professor of communications at The University of Akron. He is a member of the American Theatre Critics Association.

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