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  • Theater, Drama
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

Smoke. Flea Theater (see Off-Off Broadway). By Kim Davies. Directed by Tom Costello. With Madeleine Bundy and Stephen Stout. Running time: 1hr 15mins. No intermission.

Smoke: In brief

A privileged college student and a cynical artist push the boundaries of BDSM in a new play by Kim Davies, directed by Tom Costello with a cast drawn from the Flea's resident young company, the Bats.

Smoke: Theater review by Helen Shaw

Outlines of other plays flicker in Smoke, Kim Davies’s erotic one-act: obviously Strindberg’s Miss Julie (Davies uses it as armature) but also Venus in Fur and even Fool for Love. As in those pieces, a couple maneuvers through a fog of flirtation and power, an atmosphere so sexually frank some watchers will be embarrassed or even repelled. As others before her, Davies repurposes discomfort, making Smoke a cynical, magnetic miniature about consent itself.

Jaded Julie (Bundy) dashes into the kitchen of her first BDSM-sex party, dying for a cigarette; John (Stout) is there, already puffing moodily (smoking: illicit at an orgy). Julie’s father is a famous artist; John, coincidentally, is his assistant. Any danger here would seem to be to his career. Her self-assurance wavers, though, on finding John’s set of knives, and her own wishes go suddenly opaque. Davies and director Tom Costello tease us with violation (Bundy strips, Stout doesn’t), aided by the intense intimacy of the Flea stage. Andrew Diaz’s naturalistic set forces us into its deep corner, where we are pressed up against the performances. We’re seduced and titillated by the actors’ incredible technical control: It’s just so delicious to let them have the upper hand.—Theater review by Helen Shaw

THE BOTTOM LINE Where there’s Smoke, there’s fire, and Kim Davies's S&M two-hander is hot.

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