note: entire contents copyright 2001 by Beverly Creasey
David Marshall Grant's "Snakebit" is an odd little play about relationships which succeeds despite the fact that a veritable thicket of heavy duty issues (AIDS, adoption, professional obligations) crop up in Act II.....which should end up making the play bottom heavy but doesn't.
Director Lois Roach's production is actually charming. The crisp, clever dialogue ("I'm the only one standing between you two and extinction") makes the play witty enough to withstand the onslaught of serious surprises in the second act.
Robert Pemberton has the most fun as the totally self-absorbed actor who's visiting in L.A. to audition for a movie. (The bad boys are always the ones we love to watch.) Adrianne Krstansky is adorable as his long suffering wife and Jeffrey Mello is appropriately harried as the dear friend they're staying with and imposing on.
Jason Schuchman is especially droll as an interloper whose identity I'm not at liberty to reveal. They all cavort and cajole, and we have a grand time as the proverbial fly on the wall. Roach does some subtle foreshadowing and orchestrates a mighty authentic domestic brawl. I'm not sure what the 'message' of "Snakebit" is, but the SpeakEasy team again proves they're at the top of their game: Eric Levenson's half-in, half-out living room with moving-boxes and bubble-wrapped chair...C. Scott Ananian's lush California sunlight coming through the picture window...and Michelle Dowd's hip costumes, especially for Krstansky.
In case you were wondering, there are no snakes in "Snakebit" except maybe for the one character we never see, whose departure causes Mello's character immense distress.