Entertainment » Theatre

Kill Local

by Rodney Rodriguez
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Friday Aug 11, 2017
Kill Local

At a time when the trend is towards homegrown, organic, craft-made products, we find more and more niche businesses popping up providing the highest quality, native goods and services one can image. So, if shopping for organic foods, alcohol, clothing, and healthcare products, why not also hire homegrown hitmen? Er, women. Yes, the new trend in murder-for-hire is "Kill Local," now playing at the La Jolla Playhouse. Director Jackson Gay returns to La Jolla to direct this twisted, one-of-a-kind pulp comedy and it was everything and nothing I expected it to be.

Sheila is in a quandary: does she break free of the family business and find her own way or does she stick with what she has always known, and is apparently quite good at, following in her mother's surreptitious footprints? It's a cutthroat business she finds herself in, literally, and every job seems to weigh on her more, but will this latest be her last? Or is it just the beginning?

Billed as a pitch-black comedy (that is still almost an understatement), "Kill Local" stages a ramped-up, high adrenaline thriller with plenty of laughs and some wicked special effects. Written by UC San Diego MFA graduate Mat Smart, and developed through the La Jolla Playhouse's celebrated DNA New Work Series, this world premiere explores some common themes in a rather uncommon way. Rife with allusion and puns, the script at times beats the murderous motifs, figuratively, to death but it works well carefully contained in the perfectly circular structure of the story.

Featuring a cast mostly new to LPH, the pace of the piece calls for high emotion and buckets of energy and this cast matched velocity stride for stride. Led by the cool Amanda Quaid as field agent Sheila and the steely and resolute Candy Buckley as the boss mom Gloria, this cast of five could turn on and off the tension like a light switch, which led to some brilliantly anxious moments.

Though some of the transitions could have been smoothed over so as not to break those nerve-wracked moments and stunning scene ends, the overall production flows fairly well and it becomes quite easy to cringe in your seat; exactly what any playwright or director would want for this show.

Not for the faint of heart, "Kill Local" is sinister yet side-splittingly funny. It is, from the first scene, unnerving and surely will be one show from this summer season you are going to remember.

Guests of the La Jolla Playhouse will almost always find something going on besides their Tony Award-winning productions. Drink specials including Wine Wednesdays and Thirsty Thursdays offer discounted wine and beer offerings, Foodie Fridays see some of San Diego's best food trucks hashing out pre-show dinner, and Sonic Saturdays feature live music.

"Kill Local" runs through August 27 at the La Jolla Playhouse on the campus of UC San Diego in La Jolla. For information or tickets, call 858-550-1010 or visit www.LaJollaPlayhouse.org

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