How to Make Friends and Then Kill Them

1/5
Photograph: Hal Horowitz
How to Make Friends and Then Kill Them
2/5
Photograph: Hal Horowitz
How to Make Friends and Then Kill Them
3/5
Photograph: Hal Horowitz
How to Make Friends and Then Kill Them
4/5
Photograph: Hal Horowitz
How to Make Friends and Then Kill Them
5/5
Photograph: Hal Horowitz
How to Make Friends and Then Kill Them
Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, West Village Saturday December 14 2013 14:00

How to Make Friends and Then Kill Them. Rattlestick Playwrights Theater (see Off Broadway). By Halley Feiffer. Directed by Kip Fagan. With Katya Campbell, Keira Keeley, Jen Ponton. Running time: 1hr 30mins. No intermission.

How to Make Friends and Then Kill Them: in brief

Two neglected sisters and their oddball friend face obstacles as they grow to young adulthood in a play by actor-writer Halley Feiffer, directed by Kip Fagan for the Rattlestick.

How to Make Friends and Then Kill Them: theater review by Helen Shaw

Halley Feiffer’s Hobbesian How to Make Friends and Then Kill Them (nasty, brutish and only 90 minutes) aims at stylized cruelty, using revulsion humor and cartoonish characters for effective penny-dreadful chills. Her little thriller fizzles, though, when it tries to grow up. We meet sisters Ada (Campbell) and tomboy Sam (Keeley) when they’re only ten; already, they’re as intensely entwined as Medea and Jason. When bitchy Ada befriends guileless Dorrie (wonderful Ponton), the codependent sisters feed jealously on her bewildered love.

There’s great stuff here, particularly a softball-dugout interaction between bouncing Dorrie and needle-sharp Sam; the sweeter girl is a balloon waiting to be popped. But as Feiffer drags the tots forward into adulthood, she can’t maintain tension with her now-slackened timeline. Director Kip Fagan has the actors retain their adults-as-kids shrillness as they age, yet the show’s deliberate falseness stops working. What was dark and weird turns contrived; despite the play’s increasing violence, all the danger goes out of the game.—Theater review by Helen Shaw

THE BOTTOM LINE: This tale of childhood savagery is too arrested.

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Venue name: Rattlestick Playwrights Theater
Contact:
Address: 224 Waverly Pl
second floor
New York

Cross street: between Perry and W 11th Sts
Transport: Subway: 1, 2, 3 to 14th St
Price: $55
Event phone: 866-811-4111