Theatre review: Family Values

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This enjoyable rain-sodden chunk of pulp fiction is best described as what American novelist Joe R Lansdale calls “white humour” – terrible things happening to ignorant, dumb honkies.

Star rating: ***

Venue: theSpace on the Mile (Venue 39)

Brothers Liam and Trent (Ivan Comisso and Frederico Moro) live in their family home in the Florida Everglades and are bad guys. They work for the Mafia, their primary mode of communicating is (very convincing) violence and they may be responsible for the death of their parents.

When an older married couple (Virginia Byron and Tino Orsino) turn up at their door seeking shelter from the storm they’re intruding on all manner of bad blood and this could become a contemporary retelling of Arsenic and Old Lace. However, things are actually far more complicated than that.

Michael Dalberg’s witty script is, like the best of pulp, strewn with intentionally boggling contrivances. Characters enter and leave at the most conveniently inconvenient times only to make this already tense situation even worse – and even funnier.

However, the unholy rush to climax – as twist crashes into twist – doesn’t do justice to all that has come before.

Until 27 August. Today 7:15pm.

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