The Invitation

Time Out Ratings :

<strong>Rating: </strong>3/5

If the Greeks sacrificed individuals for the greater good of the community, maybe it's time someone slaughtered a bigoted, right-wing windbag for the betterment of America. This is the tantalizingly macabre premise of Brian Parks's The Invitation; unfortunately, its execution (pun intended) plays like a static exercise in liberal rage.

The wine and witty intellectual discourse overflow at a swank dinner party presided over by Dave (David Calvitto), a jaded, leftist book editor, and his wife, Marian (Katie Honaker), a red-haired barracuda in pearls who's the antithesis of everything her husband stands for. She's little more than an ultraconservative clich: As if her racism and anti-Semitism weren't enough, she even reviles vegetarians, fat people and mentally disabled children. So it's certainly a relief when Dave carves her up offstage and returns covered in her blood—to the horror of his liberal guests (Leslie Farrell, Paul Urcioli and Eva van Dok), who form a Greek chorus of outrage over the murder.

John Clancy's talented cast bats around Parks's clever dialogue with the verve and velocity of master tennis players. But their characters are thin, and the play descends into high-pitched screeching. Painting with the broad strokes of satirical farce, Parks gets in some biting barbs but, as too often happens in the real world, the people and the message involved get lost in shrill ramblings.

Ohio Theatre. By Brian Parks. Dir. John Clancy. With ensemble cast. 1hr 10mins. No intermission.