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I'm Revolting

  • Theater
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended
The cast of I'm Revolting
Photograph: Courtesy Ahron R. FosterI'm Revolting

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

Theater review by Raven Snook

Set in the waiting room of a skin-cancer treatment facility in 2019, Gracie Gardner's high-risk dark comedy I'm Revolting examines a group of patients facing unsettling procedures with unhelpful caretakers in tow. For these nervous people, excising malignant growths may be easier than cutting toxic relatives out of their lives.

Nineteen-year-old Reggie (a sympathetic Alicia Pilgrim), estranged from her parents because she's gay, tries to lean on big sis Anna (Gabby Beans, a whirlwind of narcissism), who's usually too busy brokering financial deals via Bluetooth. Hipster Toby (Patrick Vaill, a bundle of nerves) is saddled with New Age-y mother Paula (the bitch-perfect Laura Esterman) who thinks singing bowls and plenty of blame will help. Schoolteacher Liane (Emily Cass McDonnell, in an underwritten role) has a feckless husband (Glenn Fitzgerald) and a disfiguring diagnosis. Only septuagenarian Clyde (Peter Gerety), a clinic frequent flyer, is in good spirits, perhaps because he's on his own.

Gardner, who works as an EMT in Brooklyn, has an uncanny ear for dialogue. She prizes people over plot as she fleshes out her characters, mining their flaws for punch lines and pathos. Through their uneasy conversations, she's also able to organically reveal the devastating personal impact of larger social issues: the dangers of for-profit medicine, unequal health care, science denial, overworked physicians and lack of informed consent. (The doctors, played by Bartley Booz and Patrice Johnson Chevannes, dictate rather than discuss.)

Director Knud Adams's humanistic touch ensures that there's rarely a false note. Even the elements that feel too on-the-nose (such as Clyde's delicious but didactic takedown of Paula) don't undermine the evening's potency. We don't need scenic designer Marsha Ginsberg's back wall of mirrors to see ourselves amid Gardner’s reflections on mortality: Like the play’s clutch of impatient patients, we're all waiting to find out how long we have left—and what we may have to give up along the way.

I'm Revolting. Atlantic Theater Company (Off Broadway). By Gracie Gardner. Directed by Knud Adams. With ensemble cast. Running time: 1hr 30 mins. No intermission. 

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Written by
Raven Snook


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