Ashton and Abster Productions: 10/10 – 11/1
L-R: Ben Cowhick, Christine Sharpe and Miriam Tobin
Rob McLachlan’s “Good Television,” now on view in the Studio Theatre at Aurora Fox Arts, is a provocative evening of theatre that asks lots of questions about Reality TV and manages to keep from presenting any facile solutions.
At the top of the play a crew of ratings-hungry television folk creates a show that would allow the viewing audience to follow a meth head through his daily life in exchange for his family’s participation in the project. They promise the family an all expense paid trip for the addict-unbeknownst to him- to the rehab clinic.
The dysfunctional family that’s chosen is forced to weigh questions of the exploitation of the addict’s personal rights with the possibility of his freedom from meth hell.
Ben Cowhick’s performance in the role of Clemmy, the meth addict, is so studied and powerfully executed it nearly dwarfs the material. When Mr. Cowhick is onstage you can’t take your eyes off him. When he’s not onstage one prays for his return. The visceral edge given the piece by his nuanced physiological behaviors, facial expressions and verbal anomalies is nothing short of phenomenal.
Abby Apple Boes is great as Bernice, a hard as nails, take no prisoners television producer.
Miriam Tobin (Tara) does a fine job being the new kid on the block who fears the nepotism that got her the job will not be enough to create the success she desires.
Sam Gilstrap provides a strong performance as Ethan Turner, the guy who steps in when Bernice finds a more lucrative job at another studio.
Jack Wefso explodes in a visceral performance as Mackson, a previously absent and neglectful brother, who arrives just as the filming begins.
Steef Sealy is amusing as a prodigal alcoholic father who has found the Lord at the 12-step meeting.
Lauren Bahlman is fine as a production assistant whose values come up against the almighty television rating and who winds up getting some heartfelt advice over the phone from Clemmy’s sister, Brittany, played by Christine Sharpe.
John Ashton’s clear-eyed direction is at its best in the confrontational scene between the family and the film crew.
For tickets go online to aurorafox.org
or call 303-739-1970Marlowe's Musings