Melodramatic “Kiss” Is a Conversation Starter

Review by: Peter Foldy

What starts out as a soap opera about star-crossed lovers soon does an about-face and turns dark and sinister in Guillermo Calderon‘s KISS, making it’s West Coast Premiere at the Oddysey Theatre in West L.A.

Directed by Bart DeLorenzo and performed by Kristin Couture, Max Lloyd-Jones, Kevin Matthew Reyes, Natali Anna, Nagham Wehbe and Cynthia Yelle, (a group of talented actors) Kiss turns out to be a play about a play.

It is hard to delve into the details without giving away too much and spoiling the experience for future audiences, but I can tell you that Kiss starts out comedic and becomes a dark, fluid story that is sprinkled with hidden meaning. It examines human resilience and highlights the suffering of people caught in unimaginable circumstances.

Kiss however also walks a fine line between it’s intended melodrama and it’s surprising plot twists and it’s these unexpected revelations that causes the play to ultimately wear out some of it’s welcome.  If it weren’t for it’s fine cast who help smooth the credibility gaps with their commitment, Kiss might be a far less thought proving piece of theater.

Nina Caussa’s impressive scenic design certainly helps us visualize the story as it unfolds, as does Katelan Braymer’s lighting design. Both of these artists help to transition this drama from laid back suburbia to violent war zone.

Regardless of it’s credibility gaps, Kiss provokes and stimulates conversation. It reminds us how lucky we are to live in a relatively trouble free environment where plays such as this can be staged without fear of repercussion. Go see it with an open mind and enjoy the ride.

When: May 5 through June 18 on Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. Additional weeknight performances are scheduled on Wednesday, May 17; Thursday, May 25; and Wednesday, June 7, all at 8 p.m.

Where: The Odyssey Theatre is located at 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd., West Los Angeles, 90025. For reservations and information, call (310) 477-2055 or go to OdysseyTheatre.com.

Tickets: $34 on Saturdays and Sundays; $30 on Fridays; and $25 on Wednesdays and Thursdays, with discounted tickets available for students and members of SAG/AFTRA/AEA.

There will be two “Tix for $10” performances on Friday, May 5 and Friday, May 26. The third Friday of every month is wine night at the Odyssey: enjoy complimentary wine and snacks and mingle with the cast after the show.

Photos by: Enci Box