by: Sandi Durell
The thought may sound somewhat offbeat, to say the least, but if you had an 80 year old grandma like Cathy (Roxie Lucas); foul-mouthed, prickly, mean, tough old broad, the thought might cross your mind, too, especially if $2M was at stake as an inheritance.
This is comedy – raw, untamed and hilarious. Playwright Brian Gianci is definitely into dark and twisted and uses his artistic talents as a platform for political and social rhetoric as he intertwines issues of the day.
When the grandchildren gather for a family Christmas at Granny’s it’s not your typical homecoming. Brett (Kevin O’Donnell), a writer, and basic loser, is a hyper angler, a product of the me-me generation and his wife Jen (Brandi Nicole Wilson), a lush who needs to escape her unloved life, enter Granny’s old, ramshackle dump of a house – replete with all the years of accumulations. Brett says “this place was built in the 1800’s when people gave a sh…t.” He and Jen will inherit the house when Granny passes.
In the mix is Brett’s brother Ray (Adam Mucci), a veteran, now wheelchair bound with a plate in his head but upbeat with a happy-go-lucky aura, and immediately likeable.
The scheme unfolds as Brett talks brother-in-law Carl into poisoning Granny so they can each get what is already in the will. Carl, unbeknownst to Brett, has already dreamed about drowning Granny in a bowl of split pea soup. “Be a man” shouts Brett to the meek and mild, unremarkable little man with glasses.
Enter Grandma Cathy, a tough old broad who doesn’t mince words and has a mouth like a toilet. She is hell on wheels as she comments on wars, philosophizing and belittling everyone but Leigh. When she wakes up during the night and finds Ray in the living room, she roles a joint telling him she’s been smoking since the 60s. Cathy has lots to say about politics – “the sign of a good President is when they kill ya,” as she and Ray bond over a joint in this hilarious scene.
As the plot thickens, there are false murders but Act I ends and Grandma is somehow still alive and kicking. However, there’s a new twist – – she and Ray have fallen in love. He’s 35, she’s celebrating her 80th as Act 2 opens and it’s now Ray and Cathy’s wedding day. Brett is freaking out, Carl even more so surprised to still find her alive after failed attempts at smothering her. When Ray says he loves Granny, Brett says, “you lust Granny.” The fact is there are lots of relationships going on in this family, and they each want something. But Jen gets her big opportunity as she finally tells Granny off. And the truth shall set you free and does!
It’s a whirlwind of screaming hysterics, sex, guns, blackmail, affairs and what Ray calls his “religious experience.”
The scenic design and lighting are by Harry Feiner and director John Dapolito must have had the time of his life directing this talented cast of merrymakers in “Let’s Kill Grandma This Christmas,” one of the funniest off-Broadway comedies this season.
You’ll have a good time at The Theatre at St. Clement’s, 423 West 46th St. NYC