Sunday, November 18, 2007

The Crowd You're In With: ☼ ☼ baub

Dan (Kevin Rolston) and Windsong (Alison Jean White) are pregnant and both are happy to be. Jasper (T. Edward Webster) and Melinda (Makela Spielman) are not pregnant, but one of them wants to be. Karen (Lorri Holt) and Tom (Charles Shaw Robinson), seen below, are not pregnant and neither one wants to be.

The implied premise in Rebecca Gilman's 'The Crowd You're In With,' having its World Premiere at the Magic Theatre, is that kids ruin everything. The problem is that everyone at the barbecue in Jasper and Melinda's back yard is already having a perfectly miserable time. It's hard to imagine how much worse a brood of kids could make it.

Tom and Karen are Jasper and Melinda's landlords and they are a generation older. Their decision to never have children has made the younger couples uncomfortable, especially Jasper, who's not so sure he wants to have a child anyway. It's a squirmy afternoon in old Chicago, and director Amy Glazer keeps the pressure up by piling on one liner after one liner. For example, Tom reminisces about how no one ever came to see any of the old people in the home where his grandmother lived out her old age. "Is there more pain in having no one to come see you," he asks, "or knowing there's someone out there who doesn't come?"

"The Crowd You're In With" is a flash photo of an angst-filled moment in time. If the decision of whether or not to have children resonates with you, you'll enjoy the show. If not -- it's only one act and there's time to go home and call the kids.

RATINGS: ☼ ☼ baub

The SF Theater Blog Awards Division awards "The Crowd You're In With" one star for Alison Jean White's Windsong, who keeps coming up with charmers like: "Not to be anti-Polish, but they're a bunch of thugs." The rock-and-roller Dwight (Chris Yule)'s rant against people with children, who come to the restaurant where he waits tables, is wonderful and earns another star. A Bauble of Despair has to be acknowledged, though, because they had to make Dwight look so much like Jack Black. In fact, there are no musician cliches that Gilman missed -- you know, they're stupid, they're freeloaders, they want children but don't want to do any work. Does the reviewer have thin skin? Perhaps.

Two Stars with a Bauble for "The Crowd You're In With." It's pretty good.

Magic Theatre
Landmark Building D, Fort Mason Center
Wed-Sun $25-$75

1 comment:

mary ann said...

Of course I disagree, as does the Chron. today. I thought the slacker waiter was terrific...maybe because I work with so many just like him. They live cliches, until reality sets in.
But that's what is so great about our theatre experiences, all different.