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SF Bay Guardian, October 4, 2005


Critics Pick

-- Robert Avila


There's never a dull moment in the quotidian struggles and machinations between those who own and those who are owned as the Shotgun Players unleash this early, very funny, and intensely vital comedy by Caryl Churchill (her first to receive a professional staging). Presented on Jean-François Revon's marvelous rotating set, it's the story of a poor couple, Lisa (Zehra Berkman) and Alec (John Mercer), about to be turned out of the small apartment they share with their burgeoning family and Alec's deteriorating mother (Marilyn Stanley) by a ruthless property speculator named Marion (Trish Mulholland). Aiding Marion, who in fact wants to reclaim her former lover Alec (now grown into an antimaterialist state of Buddhist detachment), is her ineptly suicidal assistant and sometime lover, the ever-worsening Worsley (Ryan O'Donnell). Meanwhile, Marion's kept and ego-bruised husband, the butcher Clegg (Howard Dillon), dreams clumsily of reasserting his manhood by murdering her. Soon Marion has control of the couple's newborn child as a bargaining chip in her chessboard approach to social life. Capitalism, in short, is a family affair. An artful and extremely well cast production helmed by artistic director Patrick Dooley, Owners' cutting sardonic humor and gripping dramatic design suggest that, where property rules, nothing is truly private. (Avila)

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