God of Carnage
The play written by Yasmina Reza and translated from French to English by Christopher Hampton, is a beautiful piece of writing which places four actors in a room with one small piece of conflict and a mountain of subtext! Starring Brant Eustice and Caroline Mignone as husband and wife couple Michael and Veronica Vallon, and Kim Gyngell and Lizzy Falkland as Alan and Annette Reille, the production was wonderfully cast and beautifully acted.
The writing cleverly sets the context early in the piece - Ferdinand Reille, 11 years old, has hit Bruno Vallon with a stick and knocked his two front teeth out. The parents are meeting to discuss the incident logically and amicably, but as the meeting progresses huge underlying tensions emerge and the subtext gorgeously bubbles to the surface.
Alan is always on his phone, obsessed with his work as a lawyer, Michael is a Neanderthal of a man, Veronica is a social crusader obsessed with changing the world single handedly and Annette is just tired of bringing up a child alone. All the tensions slowly but surely come out as the writing has oppositions forming, sides swapping and opinions being argued, supported and then changing.
The cast works wonderfully as an ensemble and manages the transition from couple versus couple to men versus women to three against one and back again perfectly. The dissent from hysteria to drunkenness, by the women, happens a little too fast but can be forgiven.
Gyngell is perfect in the role of Alan and his comic skill and timing is always evident. Eustace plays a brilliant laissez faire Neanderthal husband and interjects suitably throughout. Mignone is beautifully domineering as the "custodian of the world" with Veronica and Falkland makes the switch from calm and caring to completely flipped out, beautifully. The set, which was an upper class marble home with choice furnishings and expensive décor, seemed out of place, and didn't match the stature of it's proclaimed occupants. This proved to be the largest question mark, but not so much so that it ruined what can only be described as a lovely recovery for the State Theatre Company.