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SF Bay Guardian


San Francisco Bay Guardian Review by Robert Avila

Bright Ideas is the name of a post preschool, in Eric Coble’s clever and engaging satire, where every yuppie couple dreams of seeing their child start out on a long but inevitable path to Harvard. The school also spawns a lot of “bright ideas” among success-addled parents pressing every advantage in a rat race that begins in increasingly expensive and competitive early education.

One idea, of questionable brilliance, takes hold of first-time parents Genevra (Anna Ishida) and Joshua (Ben Ortega)--a self-conscious pair of parvenus whose three-year-old son is a notch too low on the waiting list--with consequences as predictable as they are fresh and zesty (like a good pesto). While thoroughly enjoyable as the cartoon-for-adults it is, there’s also a nice political edge to the play’s depiction of sublimated fear and aggression (one that winningly conflates the runaway striving-after-success among the American middle-classes with the turpitude and fatal ambition in Shakespeare’s MacBeth).

Mary Guzman's savvy direction and first-rate comedic performances from her excellent cast (including a versatile ensemble formed by Melanie Case, Calum Grant, and Rami Margron) perfectly capture Coble’s macabre, Doonesbury-like humor in this smartly staged Shotgun Players production.

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