Whenever a family tragedy strikes you can always depend on a human flood of emotion and drama. Equally dependable, at least among the more or less sane population is an explosion of humor as a natural antidote to the desperation and pain. And so is born the essence of ‘ICU’ masterfully written by the young and clearly talented Fielding Edlow.
A young man succumbs to heart failure and is admitted to the intensive care unit of a local hospital. But this is not so much a tale of the man’s struggle with the ravages of heart failure and its cause in his case, but rather with the interplay within his immediate family, and one odd friend, as they come together in the hospital waiting room. Sounds boring so far, right? Far from it. ‘ICU’ is a tsunami of side splitting, grin growing festival of unstoppable laughter as mom and dad and sister exchange nonstop and widely funny banter not because they are indifferent to the plight of their loved one lying in a state of coma in the ICU but precisely because they do care so much that their only natural release is an immersion in runaway humor.
Adding to the overall mix is the arrival of another man with a disturbing level of interest in the man in ICU. That story also evolves in a way that adds even more to the overall hilarity of the production.
That playwright Fielding Edlow has exposed herself as a true genius with the world premiere of ‘ICU’ is undeniable, but the total production is also greatly enhanced by exquisite performances from the entire cast. That said there are two mega star standouts; Dagney Kerr and Caroline Aaron.
Caroline Aaron has a deep and rich history in entertainment having worked with such notables as Woody Allen and Mike Nichols. You might also recognize her from her roles in both 21 and 22 Jump Street. She has also penned her own original play ‘Such a Pretty Face’ which is scheduled to go into to production a little later this year.
Dagney Kerr I am convinced could make a dead man smile if not laugh. Her many acting credits include a stint of the well-known and much loved TV show ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer.’
As much as these two ladies stand out there was not a dud on the team. They all came together under the obviously superb direction Brian Shnipper to deliver what is undeniably one the best shows in town. The only negative comment, and it is a small one, would be the venue which is also a small one. That said the production team including the actors made it work and work well in the face of significant physical limitations. So I enthusiastically recommend that you spend something just a wee bit short of two hours thoroughly enjoying yourself by engaging in this fabulous show.
‘ICU’ is playing now through October 31st at the Atwater Village Theatre, 3269 Casitas Avenue, Los Angeles, California 90039. You may enjoy this show any Thursday, Friday or Saturday evening at 8:00 PM or on Sundays at 7:00 PM. Reservations and ticketing is available by calling 323-644-1929 or online at: www.circlextheatre.org.