Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: San Francisco/North Bay


Peerless
Marin Theatre Company
Review by Richard Connema | Season Schedule

Also see Richard's reviews of The Merchant of Venice, Roe, Leaving the Blues, John, and Eclipsed and Patrick's review of Leni


Tiffany Villarin, Jeremy Kahn, and Rinabeth Apostol
Photo by Kevin Berne
Marin Theatre Company is currently presenting Jiehae Park's Peerless, which is based on the real-life crime spree of Welsh twins June and Jennifer. I love this scathing comedy as it's full of disjointed cadences, short scenes, and ridiculous characters.

Peerless involves two protagonists, Asian twin sisters in a Midwest town who will do anything to get into the college of their choice (identified here as The College). They are known as "M" and "L." They are fixated on completing high marks and controlling their social situation. They resort to frantic measures when their educational imaginings of success are dashed most suddenly. They craft a plan to manipulate their destiny by any means necessary.

This is a fast and wild 80 minutes, starting with the opening scene in which the twins speak in machine gun rapid patter, finishing each other's sentences. They rant about an equally accomplished white classmate who managed to get into college.

The characters are an assorted group of teenagers: the obsessive Asian twins, the Caucasian nerd, the African-American boyfriend, and the indolent goth girl who doesn't give a damn. It's a revenge tragedy with bits of Macbeth. There's poison, a stabbing, a seer/witch, guilt, wakefulness, and a curse by a ghost of the dead.

Director Margot Bordelon has assembled an awesome cast of young actors and directed them with fabulous speed. Rinabeth Apostol as L and Tiffany Villarin as M are unequivocally enthralling and both give dynamic performances. Their timing and delivery are remarkable.

Jeremy Kahn as D, the lumbering, nerdy white boy with a tree nut allergy, is absolutely mesmerizing. He is a perfect foil for the two girls. Kahn performs the role as a naive idiot savant whose innocent nature is his own ruination. Cameron Matthews plays BF with a bombastic ego that is real on one occasion and puffed up on another. He plays the hip scene with unreserved realism. Rounding out the cast, Rosie Hallett has two roles; as the Dirty Girl, she is genuinely horrendous, terrifying and a danger to the sisters; as the Preppy Girl, she is a lively girl who is the personification of a college boy's first term dream girl.

Bottom Line: The Hartford Courant called Peerless "A bright, loud, colorful and caustic comedy." I am inclined to agree with that.

Peerless runs through April 2, 2017, at the Marin Theatre Company, 397 Miller Ave. Mill Valley CA. Tickets call 415-388-5208 or visit marintheatre.org. Coming up next is Rajiv Joseph's Guards at the Taj running from April 27 through May 2.


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