Clubbed Thumb

presents

DEMON BABY

By ERIN COURTNEY

www.clubbedthumb.org

 

January 9 – 31, 2004 at the Ohio Theatre, NYC

 

Directed by KEN RUS SCHMOLL

Set DAVID EVANS MORRIS

Lights GARIN MARSCHALL

Costumes KIRCHE LEIGH ZEILE

Sound MICHAEL NEWMAN

Stage Manager LEIGH GOLDENBERG

Press Representative PUBLICITY OUTFITTERS

 

Cast

(in order of appearance)

Wren – Heidi Schreck

Art – Patrick McNulty

Cat – Nina Hellman

Alan – Gibson Frazier

Workman – Leo Kittay

Sally – Polly Lee

Charles – Mark Shanahan

Demon Baby – Glenn Fleshler

When work is going nowhere, and when you are in a new city in a new country because your spouse has a new job, and when you just cannot get happy about the situation and you are up to your neck in stress, then, just then, expect a visitation from an overgrown garden gnome also known as the Demon Baby. He’s sure to delight in your fright, to speak your wickedest thoughts, and to bring your anxieties to fruition and personification in bright, living color. That, at least, is the premise, ripe with comic possibilities, behind the imperfect yet entertaining play, DEMON BABY, by Erin Courtney.

Set in England, and featuring a handful of characters that range from eccentric to hallucination, DEMON BABY is a relatively humorous look at anxiety come home to roost in the form of one very intrusive illusion. Here, the Demon Baby bonds with Wren, a budding agoraphobic almost unable to leave her sprawling new flat for fear of fear itself. As her anxiety grows, Demon Baby appears, sitting on her chest as she lies sprawled on the floor, and hitting her with a smattering of funny one-liners.

Wren, played with understated neurosis by Heidi Schreck, may see things, but in many ways, her character comes across as the most average person among her little group. Her husband, Art (Patrick McNulty) is dully drawn, and Wren has a brief, structurally unnecessary encounter with a workman (Leo Kittay, in an underutilized role), but most of her new, if forced, companionship is with some very kooky folks indeed. The most affected of the DEMON BABY bunch is Nina Hellman in the slightly over-the-top role of Cat. Very funny (though not enough to explain the uproarious and distracting laughter that emitted, obviously from friends in attendance, upon her mere stage presence), Cat’s straightforwardness adds the punch that the script needs to make it more that just a jaunt. Unfortunately, she is a peripheral character. Perhaps the most amenable role is Alan (Gibson Frazier), Wren’s editor and would-be paramour. Their relationship has possibilities, but they are never realized onstage.

Lack of fulfillment, too many scene changes and unfinished business are the major flaws in DEMON BABY. On the plus side, there is a striking set by David Evans Morris, quick-paced direction by Ken Rus Schmoll that keeps time with the scene splits, and some respectable comedic acting by the ensemble cast.

DEMON BABY is the kind of play that one can enjoy by accepting it simply for what it is and having a good time. Analyze things, and you are bound to find yourself laden with your own Demon Baby, and that would not be good for anybody.

- Kessa De Santis -

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