Sunday, September 28, 2008

"The K of D": ☼ ☼ ☼ BANG BANG

The hard-boiled critic slashes into the gala Opening Night crowd at The Magic Theatre, avoids the boiled shrimp and champagne with a sneer, finds his assigned seat, checks his cell phone for messages before turning it off (there aren't any), then sits down and prepares his knife-like adjectives to carve up the cast. Why? Because it's Opening Night, that's what we do.

But oops.

Laura Schellhardt's "The K of D," which plays through October 19 at the Magic, is a terrific show and Maya Lawson, who plays all the kids in a small rural town where at least one, no, two murders have taken place, is astonishingly good. There's spooky Charlotte and gangsta wannabe Trent and a guy named Kwisp and bubble-gum cigarette smoking Becky and the girl whose father is the Chrysler dealer, and there's also Charlotte's mother and father and dead brother, and then there's the really evil Johnny with the dogs and the narrator/sort of, and don't you dare forget the heron.

On Opening Night Lawson is already moving into all these characters and in a few more weeks she will own them. She makes you forget she's all by herself on that stage as each of her characters assume their own lives. After the show even the cackling coven of critics was heard whispering comments like: "Darn, she's good!" Plus "Wow. What a terrific show!"

The K of D had its premiere in Washington D.C. early this year and is still evolving. It's very good now, and although I suggest you hold off a week or two and let it grow a bit, don't you dare miss this run of The K of D. You just might be bowled over.


The San Francisco Theater Blog Awards Division awards "The K of D" Three Stars with two BANGLES of Praise. The writer, director and actress deserve one star each, as much for their gutsy chance taking as for their excellent deliveries. One Bangle of Praise is for Schellhardt's concept of the Urban Legend, and the question of what is real and what is only imagined. It's funny but equally thought provoking. The other Bangle is for Trent's father's line about his boy who'd rather shoot a gun than practice the piano: "If someone breaks into your house, do you want a kid who can shoot a gun or play a minuet?" That gun, not the piano, comes back to haunt everybody, especially the heron.

OK, you want to know what 'K of D' stands for. Here's a hint: Charlotte kisses frogs. Lots of things die. Put it together, then go see the show.

The K of D: An Urban Legend
Magic Theatre
Fort Mason, Building D, San Francisco
Wed.-Sun. Through Oct. 19
$40 and $45

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