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Trout Stanley

by Kilian Melloy
Monday Sep 12, 2011
Becky Webber, Kathryn Lynch, and Sean George star in ’Trout Stanley,’ playing through Sept. 25 at The Factory Theatre
Becky Webber, Kathryn Lynch, and Sean George star in ’Trout Stanley,’ playing through Sept. 25 at The Factory Theatre  (Source:Alison Luntz)

Exquisite Corps Theatre delves deep into skewed comedy with Trout Stanley, playing through Sept. 25 at The Factory Theatre.

This Claudia Dey-written dramedy boasts rich dialogue and a story ripped from the tabloid headlines. Sororal twins Sugar (Becky Webber) and Grace (Kathryn Lynch) huddle in their tiny dwelling at the edge of a municipal dump, fearing the curse they believe has descended on them following the deaths of their parents ten years before. Every year on their birthday, a young woman goes missing -- a young women who shares the same birthday as the twins -- and it's Grace. the town's garbage collector, who keeps finding their bodies.

Right on cue, as the sisters' birthday approaches once more an exotic dancer (and Scrabble champion) from a neighboring town vanishes. Will her body turn up next in Grace's garbage truck? Could Grace herself be the killer? Or is the man in the tattered police uniform who breaks into their home a more likely suspect?

The man's name is Trout Stanley (Sean George). He turns out to be a world traveler who is now swimming upstream, as it were, to locate the lake where his parents died in a freak accident. But when Trout and Sugar meet, it's love at first sight -- with all the complications that entails, given Grace's overprotective nature, Sugar's acute agoraphobia, and the twisted, tragic family backgrounds of everyone involved.

Dey allows her characters a certain depth and breadth that makes each of them more than a farcical caricature. Her poetic language, which the actors deliver in highly emotive, energetic torrents, has an elliptical quality that circles pinpoint ideas in a way that draws in larger skeins of meaning. Somehow, what's essentially a trailer-trash potboiler about people on the margins falling in love turns into a mini-epic about fate and desperation.

The cast and their director, Louisa Richards, share in the credit here, bringing fire and conviction to the production. Sean Cote's scenic design makes the setting into an extension of the characters: knickknacks fill a bookshelf; a tiny kitchen area speaks volumes about a cramped domesticity that's both stifling and comforting those dwelling within it.

Ian King's lighting design and Bob Mussett's sound design work hand in hand to goose both the comic moments and the underlying dramatic tension. Taken all together, the production's elements create a complete, if not necessarily tidy, little world in which anything seems possible and even credible, no matter how improbable it might be. The result is a fantastic voyage to a world that exists between the cracks -- but still a world where heart and humor offer a way forward to trapped and lonely souls.

"Trout Stanley" continues through Sept. 25 at The Factory Theatre, located at 791 Tremont Street in Boston.

Tickets cost $15 general admission. Sept. 15 and Sept. 22 will be "Twins Night," with a 2-for-1 ticket offer.

Performance schedule: Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights at 8:00 p.m. and Sunday matinee at 2:00 p.m.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.


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