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Funny Kind a Love - A Witty, Dramatic Love Rectangle
Patrick Brown’s Funny Kind’ a Love is a menage a quatre, or rather a love rectangle. The Jambiz International summer production for 2014, Funny Kind’a Love is a witty, moving drama involving a pair of brothers and two sisters who become entangled a romantic web of deceptions that test ideas of family and loyalty.
While historically their summer plays have been the more dramatic of their offerings, in recent years the comedic element has been stronger. Jambiz has rarely gone this deep or dark with it’s commercial plays. Indeed, while the plot is somewhat paint-by-numbers, the play benefits from strong emotional content largely coming from the rich characterizations and even better performances.
Funny Kind’ A Love benefits from a cast comprising the usual Jambiz suspects. The four-hander features Camille Davis as Jo, Glen ‘Titus’ Campbell as Buck, Courtney Wilson as Carlisle and Sharee Elise (who alternates with Sakina Deer) as Wendy.
Campbell delivers a solid performance presenting a Buck who is likable and engaging. Wilson brings home one of his best performances in recent years and this is a role that takes him outside of what has now become his regular wheelhouse.
However, the show belongs to Sharee Elise and Camille Davis. The dynamics between Wendy and Jo is particularly striking, and Davis delivers what is possibly one of the best performances of her career.
Jo and Wendy are remarkably different sisters who are married to two brothers who are also have significantly different characters. While Wendy is educated, reserved and accomplished, Jo is loud, brash and promiscuous. Jo is absolutely delightful to watch and her irreverence makes her completely engaging. Refusing to completley accept her limitations, she strives for sophistication, however her attempts are often severely interrupted by limited acquaintance with English. Interestingly, Brown’s explanation of Jo’s promiscuity, a nod to a more conservative portrayal of femininity, is a betrayal of the character as though a woman needs an excuse to be promiscuous.
Buck and Carlisle share somewhat similar differences, though they are not as engaging. While Buck has limited education and is a contractor, Carlisle is an accountant. The dynamic interchange between the four works for great dramatic tension and works just as well in creating some of the most delightful comedic gems found in the play.
Funny Kind’ a Love is ably directed by Patrick Brown and Trevor Nairne. Additionally, the play benefits from a well designed and crafted set as well as striking lighting design.
Overall, Funny Kind’ a Love is a solid production. It is filled with several humourous moments many of which break up the darker moments of the play. Despite this, the humour does not completely disrupt the dramatic tension.
Funny Kind’ a Love is currently playing at the Centre Stage Theatre, New Kingston.