by Palmerston Hughes
Set in Edmonton, Canada, the award winning play “Unidentified Human Remains and the True Nature of Love” by Brad Fraser follows the journey of seven lonely people in their search for meaning in the jaded, cynical world of the late 1980s. As the characters try to accept their sexuality and find worthwhile relationships, their lives are impacted by a serial killer who is stalking the city. When the identity of the killer becomes obvious, the characters realize that he is as lost and confused as they are.
The main protagonist, David, a former child star, now reduced to being a waiter, seeks anonymous intimacy in his brief sexual encounters with strangers. He ultimately begins a relationship with a 17 year old busboy, Kane, as a substitute for the man he can never have, his “straight” friend Bernie.
David’s roommate and former lover, “Candy” also appears confused and desperate in her need for love as she bounces between a male bartender and a lesbian she has met at the gym.
The character’s twisted troubles are all observed from the sidelines by David’s clairvoyant friend, an S&M prostitute named Benita. Deception, confusion, and lies permeate the dialogue as Benita tells urban legends to the audience, encapsulating the paranoia of a town caught in the shadow of a serial killer. In this play everyone has a secret. Everyone has something to hide.
Directed by Johnny Cole, the production that opened on March 3rd at the Chromolume Theatre in Los Angeles is a noble attempt to give Brad Fraser’s play it’s due. The cast work hard to convey the depravity of these lost souls as they unfold this compelling tale.
The glue that hold the piece together in this production is an excellent Tom Nyman as “David.” He is focused and committed as his character navigates the sexual and emotional minefield he finds himself stumbling through.
Mike Hennessey is also strong as “Bernie,” David’s best friend with a soon to be revealed secret. Sydney Davis rounds out the trio as “Candy.” Gordon James Jr. makes a convincing debut as “Kane,” the innocent, confused 17 year old who falls under David’s spell.
The underwhelming set and lighting design is a detraction from this important piece of theater, as is the productions unwillingness to push the envelope a little. To be daring. Despite some other opening night flaws and stumbles, the cast is earnest and not untalented.
Though written over twenty years ago, “Unidentified Human Remains and the True Nature of Love” still packs a powerful punch. This production from the Brighter Day Theatre Company deserves to noticed.
The show runs from Friday, March 8th through March 10th, 2013. Chromolume Theatre, 5429 W. Washington Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90016
For reservations and ticket info, call: 800 838 3006.
Online ticketing: www.brownpapertickets.com/event/348075