Bas Bleu Explores The Lunacy Of Burying A Loved One
Reviewed by Tom Jones
January 26, 2020
Bunny Best has taken her beloved dog out for a walk in time to see the Gay Day Parade. A probably drunk chanteuse on one of the floats reaches out to the dog, tipping over the 500-pound amplifier and herself on top of Bunny Best, who does not survive. The dog survived as did the chanteuse who has named herself “Pina Colada.”
Bunny’s two adult sons, Hamilton and Kyle, take the news with very different responses. Hamilton appears to be heartbroken. The more practical Kyle, a realtor, is too busy trying to sell a condo to concern himself with much else. And perhaps he is not so grief stricken as his mother has confided in him alone that her health is deteriorating. Thus we meet the Best Brothers, Hamilton portrayed by Jeffrey Bigger and Kyle, played by Kevin Crowe.
The portrayals are nothing short of amazing. Bigger and Crowe are both skilled actors, with impeccable timing. Crowe has the showiest part, a very gay businessman always on the lookout for making a deal. He can arch is eyebrows, smirk with a joyful glance, and prance through life with great élan. “The Best Brothers” is 90 minutes of great fun, followed by substantial pathos. There is no intermission, and I was smiling or laughing out loud for the first hour of the show. Then, as is the case with life itself, there must be a time to “get serious” with what is happening, and sibling rivalry is exposed as old wounds are opened.
The brothers are as different as night and day. Hamilton is married with a wife who would rather go curling than do anything with her husband. The husband has a dog the wife hates. He may just hate the dog also. The gay brother Kyle is in a relationship with a chap named Gordon who we never meet, and it isn’t clear if Kyle sees much of him either. Gordon may just be an escort for hire. We don’t know.
Hamilton and Kyle spar over how to write the obituary, with very opposing ideas of what needs to be said and how to say it. Kyle wants to have food served for the Visitation of friends who would come to pay their respects. He has such grandiose plans for such that Hamilton finally stops him short, with “This is a Visitation, NOT a Cotillion.”
They do come to agreement that Hamilton will provide the actual eulogy with introduction by Kyle. Kyle, however, just can’t contain himself and steals the show – much to Hamilton’s dismay and to the audience’s delight. This is sheer craziness at the expense of the deceased mother. Playwright Daniel Macivor has come up with an enormously fun look at two brothers at odds, not only with the other, but deep-down at odds with themselves. Macivor is evidently one of Canada’s most prolific playwrights and has received numerous accolades for his plays.
The set is basic – a look at the interior of a house and of an apartment, and not much else. We never see Bunny Best in person. We do see portrayals of her by her two sons, each displaying their mother as they remember her. We never see the dog that is so integral to their lives. We never meet Pina Colada. We never meet the mysterious Gordon. What we do meet, however, is well worth the effort to head to Bas Bleu for an evening of super entertainment. Director Lynn Bogner has done wonders in keeping up the momentum with minimal action beyond the farcical face movements of the two stars.
What survives the lunacy of the early scenes is a review of what is important in life, how we care for others, and how we care for ourselves. I am not a dog owner, but I have the suspicion that every dog owner in the audience couldn’t wait to rush home to give their animals a hug, and be given an enthusiastic welcome by their furry friends.
“The Best Brothers”
Through February 23, 2020
Bas Bleu Theatre
401 Pines Street
Fort Collins, CO 80524
For tickets and information visit basbleu.org or call 970/498-8949