Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Murder Most Foul By Beverly Creasey

Used to be, every school, every town had a couple of scary guys… but they couldn’t wreak much havoc on their own. Now they can hook up on the internet and find a cluster of other like minded fanatics. And as we’ve witnessed, the mayhem is far more serious.

David Gow’s play, CHERRY DOCS, focuses on one instance of racially motivated violence perpetrated by a white supremacist. The skinhead is now on trial for murder and has been assigned a public defender… who is Jewish.

The stunning New Repertory Theatre production of CHERRY DOCS (playing through Nov. 7th) is helmed by David R. Gammons who directed their heart stopping production of THE LIEUTENANT OF INISHMORE two seasons back. Gammons extracts all the physical intensity he can from CHERRY DOCS (named for a pair of steel toed Doc Marten’s boots). Voices scream, bodies flinch and chairs fly.

Gow’s script elegantly traverses the evolving relationship of the two men: their growing dependency and their dual transformations. Both change: one for the better and one for the worse or should I say for the “sadder but wiser.”

Gow uses Judaism and the Bible as touchstones for redemption and forgiveness, with lovely metaphors sewn into a prayer shawl belonging to the lawyer’s father. If only the defendant’s turnaround didn’t seem so contrived. Tim Eliot and Benjamin Evett suffer and spar for ninety minutes in tour de force performances, heightened by Adam Stone’s startling sound effects and Jenna McFarland Lord’s claustrophobic cell/set, lit without mercy by Karen Perlow.