Venue: Exchange Hotel (Balmain NSW), Apr 9 – 30, 2015
Playwright: Rick Cleveland
Director: Maggie Scott
Cast: Boris Bkric, Steve Maresca, Andrew Mead
Image by GiGee Photography
Rick Cleveland’s Jerry And Tom is a fairly uncomplicated comedy about two family men who also happen to moonlight as ruthless hitmen. We go from one humorous scenario to another, depicting their gruesome murders, all with a charming Bronx-type accent. Maggie Scott’s direction is a simple, no frills approach that focuses on character dynamics and chemistry. Pacing of the piece is jaunty and very light, with a delightful clarity in the way its plot is conveyed. The comedy is consistent but mild, and given the exaggerated context, a greater sense of irony would probably provide the show with a stronger edge.
Performances are polished and compelling, with all three actors showing good commitment and enthusiasm. Boris Brkic has a laid-back charm that makes his portrayal believable, and a keen sense of timing that allows a hint of authenticity to elevate his role Tom from mere caricature. Jerry is played by Steve Maresca whose infectious enjoyment of the stage connects with us, and although the actor’s serious side is quite obviously less developed than his funny side, he holds his own against more seasoned counterparts. Andrew Mead plays the remaining characters with excellent energy, although more versatility is required for a greater differentiation between personalities. There is a general cautiousness that feels too safe for the material at hand. We need a playfulness to meet with the reckless attitude of the narratives, but the performers seem too careful or apprehensive perhaps, to give the show the wild abandon it deserves.
Music from the television series Dexter underscores most of the blacked out scene changes, but unlike Dexter, we explore very little of the “dark passenger” that compels Jerry And Tom to do the things they do. Without enough psychological bite, the show ends up feeling a little too frothy, and after 90 minutes of senseless killing, we try to find meaning but discover emptiness instead. The production is not always satisfying, but the good work of karma does prevail in the story, and sometimes, that is all than we can bargain for.