By Daniel Reskin
By Hans Morgenstern
By George Martinez
By Pablo Chacon Alvarez
By Ciara LaVelle
By New Times Staff
By Rich Robinson
By Hannah Sentenac
Although the quality may fluctuate, EDGE Theatre productions are often doused with wit and commentary as they confront issues affecting our collective social psyche. Reality TV, in which writer/director Jim Tommaney challenges the corrupt television industry, is no exception. The result is a largely successful, thought-provoking, and satirical presentation of the depths to which television executives will sink for a hit.
When ratings at Fly Television begin to slip, London-based TV kingpin Judson Weaver (Peter King) brainstorms potential programming ideas with his assistant Pamela (Monnie King). Between them they create Death Derby, a show in which people with suicidal tendencies compete for the right to die, with the "winner" chosen by the public. Amid numerous backstabbing incidents and plot twists, the narrative imparts a gritty glance into the workings of megalomaniacal multimedia corporations.
Although the story is set in the present, the stage -- representing Weaver's office -- looks dated. Most of the furnishings emanate a staid, pale brown; even the VCR looks old. A modest budget may be to blame, but such anachronisms can be distracting.
Fortunately the paltry stage sets do not impinge upon the quality of acting, which is mostly solid. Peter King's ruthless executive hasn't had a scruple since his furniture was current, and he secretly loves it; while Monnie King takes great joy in outsmarting others. Her obsequious assistant, played by Cyril Serrao, doesn't quite convey the smarts with which he's purportedly fitted, and studio executive Lionel Burdock (Sheldon Cohen) perfectly embodies the essence of a cunning, powerful man. Sarah Dawson's secretary is underused, but her attractiveness does not go unappreciated.
Reality TVis one of EDGE Theatre's better efforts.