Thursday, March 11, 2010

Den of Thieves

Den of Thieves
By Stephen Adly Guirgis
Directed by Susi Damilano
SF Playhouse
Preview March 10, 2010 8pm

Maggie: Katie Tkel
Paul: Casey Jackson
Flaco: Chad Deverman
Boochie: Corinne Proctor
Sal: Peter Ruocco
Little Tuna: Ashkon Davaron
Big Tuna: Joe Madero

I had fun at this preview of Den of Thieves, which opens officially at the SF Playhouse on Saturday night. It's a black comedy about a quartet of petty criminals who find themselves awaiting execution by a crime boss. The show feels like a sitcom & aims to entertain. The characters & situations are pretty stereotypical. The 1st act is a lengthy exposition establishing the mismatched quartet of criminals. The 2nd act begins with a scene change that jumps right to the unfortunate aftermath of their heist.

There was a lot of laughter at this preview, so the show looks like it will be a hit with audiences. The entire cast is good. I liked Kathryn Tkel as a somewhat sad kleptomaniac, struggling with her addiction to shoplifting. I found her to be the most realistic & least cartoony character. I also liked Ashkon Davaran as a son whose heart is not quite in the family business. It was only afterward that I realized I had seen the intensely physical & very watchable Chad Deverman before, in a completely different kind of show.

The play's director, Susi Damilano, was on hand & personally requested us to move to better seats. She also asked the audience to fill out a questionnaire telling her what we liked, what confused us, & which characters we most & least identified with. She assured us that our responses would be used to give notes to the cast. I wonder what Shakespeare's audience surveys looked like.

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