From the cluster of six plays that constitute Canadian dramatist George F. Walker’s “Suburban Motel” cycle, Famous Door Theatre presents two comedies that unfold within the same seedy motel room, involve a motley crew of loveable losers and explore the ways in which these derelicts connect through violence, exploitation and loneliness. Both are superbly acted and strongly directed, but the presentation in one evening of two otherwise independent and stylistically divergent plays makes them susceptible to inevitable comparison. When this happens, “Adult Entertainment”—a black-comedy-infused taut drama about corrupt cops—comes off better than “Criminal Genius”—an in-your-face farce about a dodo-brained father-and-son team of nonviolent hoods. Unlike the fully realized humans in the former (who seethe with equal parts revulsion and tenderness for each other), the cartoon characters in the latter have very little purpose outside of mouthing Walker’s jokes about their own stupidity, which although hilarious sometimes overstay their welcome. Furthermore, while “Criminal Genius” panders to your prejudices towards the kinds of pathetic souls relegated to motel rooms for cheap laughs, “Adult Entertainment” surprisingly challenges them through smart humor. Still, this entertaining—if awkward for me—pairing showcases Walker’s range and makes for theatre so wickedly enjoyable I wish the four other “Suburban Motel” plays were waiting in the wings. (F.O. Almeida)
This production is now closed.