The Evildoers

By Bonnie Goldberg

When good friends invite you to celebrate their eighth wedding anniversary, you can expect good food, fine wine, sparkling conversation and hearty laughter. What you wouldn't expect is for one of the men to have a full meltdown, an explosion of verbal anger that had been bubbling under the surface for years. Playwright David Adjmi gives the audience of New Haven's Yale Repertory Theatre a giant clue when he named his world premiere play "The Evildoers," spewing venom until Sunday, February 9. Billed as a comedy, this is as dark as midnight and does not generate humor so much as horror.

Martin (Matt McGrath) and Judy (Samantha Soule) have known Carol (Johanna Day) and Jerry (Stephen Barker Turner) for ages. While Jerry fills himself with alcohol, Judy tries to be a people pleaser and Carol slings barbs and arrows at everyone in the general vicinity, Martin sits quietly and absorbs the ping-ponging conversation.

Without warning, Martin leaps up and starts spouting an avalanche of anger, like a volcano that suddenly erupts after years of inactivity. Revelations unfold as Martin's sexual orientation comes into question, Carol's pregnancy is announced, Judy finds herself alone in the new house that they have just occupied and Jerry tries to go cold turkey and stop drinking.

In Carol and Jerry's living room, filled with mirrors that distort images, cleverly created by set designer Riccardo Hernandez, the action quickly turns violent and ugly. Martin, the anesthesiologist, is no longer able to deaden and desensitize his problems, Jerry, the psychiatrist, has no quick-fix solutions and Carol, the wedding planner, confesses she doesn't believe in marriage, while Judy flutters and unravels, getting more and more unsure of herself.

Flaws, foibles, waxed floors, Freud, floods and fire affect the fragile fabric of their lives in a dozen insidious ways. Rebecca Bayla Taichman directs this foray into unstable lives where suffering is deemed to be desired.

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