Play Review by Peter Foldy
Writer, William Francis Hoffman’s CAL IN CAMO, making it’s West Coast Premiere at the VS Theatre is a chilling, metaphoric drama with dialogue as raw as it’s wounded characters. The story revolves around Tim and Cal, a young married couple adrift in what seems to be a hopelessly doomed relationship. Like their newly bought home in rural Illinois, their marriage is at risk of sinking. Cal suffers from postpartum depression and is unable to produce breast milk for their newborn baby daughter We soon learn that her problems go a lot deeper. Abandoned as a young child by her mother, Cal grew up in foster homes and has no family other than a brother, Flynt. A hunter with a deep connection to nature, Flynt has recently lost his wife in a tragic drowning accident.
To help her brother heal, Cal invites Flynt to spend a few days at their recently bought, isolated home in rural Illinois. This doesn’t bode well with Tim, especially when he learns that Cal flew Flynt first class, despite the fact that they are struggling to make ends meet. Tim has also not forgotten that Flynt walked out in the middle of their wedding reception, taking Tim’s favorite tie that his brother-in-law borrowed for the occasion.
A loner with a connection to nature, Flynt arrives wearing camouflage. Never a good sign. He says little and when he speaks he talks of pending doom. With turbulant weather on the horizon, and a rifle that is introduced into the mix, one gets the sinking feeling that this story will not have a happy ending.
Flynt’s visit does ultimately prove purposeful. Though he can’t give his sister what she asks of him, Flynt does inspire Cal to seek what she desperately needs.
Bree Turner delivers a powerful performance as the vulnerable Cal, bravely exposing her character’s broken heart. Brad Raider’s Tim manages to evoke empathy as a failed beer salesman, struggling to keep his marriage together. Tim Cummings brings a cloud of mystery to this brooding tale, his presence elevating the sense of danger that builds throughout, not unlike the approaching storm that will either wreck havoc or clense the wounds that need healing.
With solid direction from Amy K Harmon, impressive set design by Se Hyun Oh, and an outstanding score by Chris Moscatiello, who also created the sound design, Cal in Camo delivers a compelling and emotional roller coaster ride.
Cal in Camo plays at 8pm Thursdays-Saturdays, and 3pm Sundays through November 9, 2018.
VS. Theatre is located at 5453 Pico Blvd. in Los Angeles, 90019.
Tickets are $20 – $35. Reservations: reddogsquadron.com
For more information call: 323-739-4411
Photos by: David Rodriguez