Friday, November 14, 2014

"77%": ☼ ☼ BANG

In Rinne Groff's "77%," we see a modern couple caught up in the modern world. Melissa (Arwen Anderson) is the high-powered executive, doing deals by the minute on her cell phone, while her husband Eric (Patrick Russell) is the struggling artist and stay-at-home dad. They have two young children and he wants another while she is, at best, ambivalent.

The voice of reason is the third corner of the triangle: Melissa's mother Frankie (Karen Grassle), who has been recruited to help with the kids while her husband, Melissa's father, is sailing his sloop in Chesapeake Bay. Frankie says and does very little in the first half of the play but her entrance as a real character, which comes after Melissa and Eric have gone through a crisis in the pregnancy clinic, marks the spot where we begin to understand what all the fuss is about.

The actors are excellent, especially Anderson, who makes sure we don't like Melissa very much while also conveying a solidity her husband appears not to have. Eric should have a spine inserted, which may or may not be the author's point. Frankie just needs to take better care of her cartilage. Groff spends a lot of time getting to the final image -- the bone that is cracked but fixable. Your enjoyment of this show may depend on whether or not you think fixing the skeleton of this relationship makes any sense at all.

The San Francisco Theater Blog Awards Division awards "77%" Two Stars with a BANGLE OF PRAISE. We enjoy the way the show is minimally staged -- the two chairs and single table leave it to our imaginations to fill in the details.

San Francisco Playhouse Sandbox Series
Tides Theatre
 533 Sutter Street (top floor), San Francisco
Wed- Sat through Nov 22

No comments: