Regional Reviews: San Francisco/North Bay
This is a 90 minute, no-intermission play that shows what happens when love and OCD collide. Ben has obsessive-compulsive disorder and he runs up and down steps, impulsively checking on the lights. He also checks four dials on his stove over and over. When he was a mere youth he always had in his lunch box an Oreo, a carrot and a bagel. He would arrange them in various orders.
Ben embarks on a first date with Kate and with his anxious mind he is suddenly gripped by thoughts of worst case consequences. He imagines, and this is shown in the play, a sexual romp in which he accidentally smothers Kate with a pillow. In another fantasy he imagines Kate giving birth to a son and, due to lack of support from Ben, the child turns into a homicidal killer and is executed.
Ben and Kate marry and things go wrong with the marriage. Kate has a public ukulele recital and Ben misses it because he is exhausted by his compulsive running up and down those stairs checking the lights and the stove. Kate gets tired of Ben's OCD even when there is a fire in building that Ben did not cause.
Adam Niemann gives a tremendous performance as Ben. He shows the character as a bundle of nerves flabbergasted by the profusion of choices and by the thought that he might lose control of his life. Giorgia Luisa gives a splendidly moderated, controlled performance as Kate.
Koledon Lambright as O, Michelle Navarette as C, and Adam Odsess-Rubin as D play these characters with rib-tickling talent; they nudge Ben, increasing his comportment and terminating his relationship with Kate. These three are a hoot with their manic variations. Director Rose Oser keeps the action moving energetically and flawlessly between realism and the overstated imagination of Ben's mind.
Oreo Carrot Danger: A Play of Rituals runs through July 9th, 2016, at PianoFight, 144 Taylor Street, San Francisco Tickets can be obtain by calling 415-816-3691 or www.FaultLinetheater.com.