Review: Poetic License

A literary family breaks down in this witty, eloquent new dramedy.

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  • Photograph: Carol Rosegg

    Poetic License

    Poetic License at 59E59

  • Photograph: Carol Rosegg

    Poetic License

    Poetic License at 59E59

  • Photograph: Carol Rosegg

    Poetic License

    Poetic License at 59E59

  • Photograph: Carol Rosegg

    Poetic License

    Poetic License at 59E59

Photograph: Carol Rosegg

Poetic License

Poetic License at 59E59

 

Time Out Ratings

<strong>Rating: </strong>4/5

Language is a weapon in Jack Canfora's nifty play about a prestigious poet with a nasty secret that, once it comes out, forces his loved ones to reevaluate their lives. Cynical yet fragile bard Katherine (Natalie Kuhn) brings her Shakespeare-quoting boyfriend Edmund (Ari Butler) home to meet her parents: acerbic mom Diane (Liza Vann, who dispenses barbs in between cocktails) and John (Geraint Wyn Davies), a seemingly soft-spoken professor who's celebrating his birthday and forthcoming appointment as poet laureate. At first it seems like your average dysfunctional bourgeois family gathering—mom's a bitch, daughter takes the bait, and dad plays peacemaker as the boyfriend looks on bewildered. But after one carefully dropped f-bomb, it quickly becomes clear that no one's being honest about his or her motives or, in some cases, identities.

These revelations are a big part of the fun of Poetic License, which provokes more loud laughs than deep thoughts (but no matter). It's an exceedingly clever and entertaining one-act dramedy with top-notch production values. Jessica Park's book-filled set looks lived-in, and director Evan Bergman elicits nuanced performances from all four actors, especially the hyper-articulate Davies, who, when threatened, becomes a ball of rage bursting through his gray cardigan. They say that looks can kill, but here it's words that wound, maim and ruin lives.

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59E59. By Jack Canfora. Dir. Evan Bergman. With ensemble cast. 1hr 20mins. No intermission. See complete event information.

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