Theatre Mirror Reviews - "The Social Avenger"

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note: entire contents copyright 2016 by Tony Annicone



"THE SOCIAL AVENGER"

Reviewed by Tony Annicone



Daydream Theatre's newest original play at the Arctic Playhouse is the world premiere of "The Social Avenger" written by and directed by Lenny Schwartz. "The Social Avenger" is a play revolving around one week in the life of Jack, a man who is fed up with society and decides to take action. He decides to deal with the people and the things bothering him by picking fights with people committing these actions. Things get pretty surreal in this play which is semi-autobiographical and semi-surreal. The story is based on the playwright's real life experiences, including everything from waiting in a coffee shop line forever while the people ordering take their sweet time, to people obsessed with their cell phones as well as to the boss from hell. The story is true to life as it gets. Everyone who sees the play will be able to identify with it. This show starts on a somber note with one person crying, being comforted by his mother and then when he has a conversation with his brother, they find their father's cell phone and all hell breaks loose with a semi-naked clown popping out of a closet. Lenny writes madcap and wild, crazy comedies that leave the audience laughing in the aisles and this play is no exception to that rule. He has many clever one liners and clever shtick. I have been reviewing Lenny's shows since 2002 and this show is another feather in his cap, making it a must see show with his fourteen member cast.

The play is about two brothers and their mother. We learn that Jack, one of the sons, is fed up with how life has been going. It also concerns all the people and situations, that he can no longer put up with like a man at work coming on to his co-worker by stripping and calling her a vulgar name and Jack comes to the rescue here and at a restaurant, Comic Con, cell phone store and in the final scene at an awards ceremony where he puts everyone in their place by exclaiming "Be whoever you want to be!" Johnny Sederquist commands the stage in this huge role. He runs the gamut of emotions and captures the audience's attention from start to finish with his brilliant acting ability. Johnny never leaves the stage during this two hour performance, delivers a tour-de-force performance. His interactions with all the other performers are sensational, too. I first reviewed Johnny as a sophomore at URI when he played Charlie in "The Foreigner" and he has grown into a brilliant, terrific mature actor. Bravo!

Julian Trilling plays Haley, the woman who is bothered by a stripper at work. Her charming, earnest and comforting character brings some calm to Jack at certain times. Julian lights up the stage and is a joy to watch in this role. Playing his brother, Ben, is Jim Kelly who cries up a storm in two scenes and then laughs up a storm as an obnoxious cell phone salesman who refuses to interact with the only customer in his store. Their long suffering mother is well played by Henryce Zannini who also plays Beth, the boss from hell who swears like a trooper in front of two nuns and a priest. There is a lot of double casting in this show and many twists and turns to the story, so I don't want to give away too many plot points. Other talented cast members include Derek Colantuano who plays the stripper and an arrogant producer of a gerbil movie, Tonia Klemp is a hoot as a nerdy customer in the drugstore as well as a Comic Con fan, Dan Martin plays the comic clown and the restaurant owner while JP McCormick plays an irate dad in a toy store as well as a Senator with a shady past, Jourdan Spruill plays a nasty restaurant customer and a grammar and spelling Nazi, Candice Sampson is a hoot as the store clerk and a Nurse, Vanessa Blanchette plays a little girl and a cell phone addict, Anthony Amaral III plays a barista and an aggressive reporter, Cassidy Caduto plays a Comic geek and a constantly coughing mailwoman and Beatriz Lopez plays performance artist, Laurel Bartlett who does things with a cupcake that has to be seen to be believed. So for a zany, fun filled show, be sure to catch "The Social Avenger" before it is too late. Come and see the magic Lenny Schwartz provides his performers and their appreciative audience. After their nine show run at the Arctic Playhouse, this show moves on to New York City in July for the 2016 Planet Connections Festivity. Tell them Tony sent you.

THE SOCIAL AVENGER (5 to 21 May)
Daydream Theatre, Arctic Playhouse, 117 Washington St, West Warwick, RI
1(401)573-3443 or www.thearticplayhouse.com




THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide

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