The Smell of the Kill
Reviewed by David Kashimba
Photo by Adam Buck

Primal sources are definitely at work in Michelle Lowe’s The Smell of the Kill, now playing in San Francisco’s newest theatre, The Playhouse, located at Union Square. Directed by Bill English and starring three of the Bay Area’s best actresses, The Smell of the Kill is a lot like Rob Becker’s Defending The Caveman from a woman’s point of view, though the source of this comedy is darker than that found in the cave.

Set in the present in Nicky’s (Stacy Ross) very modern kitchen, the play opens with three women washing dishes and cleaning up the kitchen after a monthly get together. Their husbands are in another room, drinking beer, belching, putting golf balls and talking about manly things like hunting.

At first all three women seem to be happily married, but as they talk, more and more is revealed about the reality of their relationships. Nicky’s husband is up on charges of embezzling millions of dollars. Though Molly (Zehra Berkman) and her husband are always talking about how much they love each other, they haven’t had sex in months. And Debra’s (Susi Damilano) husband not only flirts with any woman that comes near him, he has also been having an affair for over a year. While all three women do their best to hide and suppress their stark realities, their sisterhood in the kitchen (drinking lots of wine) soon begins to loosen their tongues and their clothes. As they bare their chests of blouses, all their repressed hatreds of their meat loving men are also revealed. Indeed, liberation of the individual is this drama’s main theme.

Then as fate would have it, Nicky’s hunter husband can’t resist showing the men his new meat locker, holding the frozen carcasses of rabbits, deer, elk and moose. Because of a faulty door the meat freezer locks the three men inside. Incessantly they pound on the door. While the women listen, they slowly ponder whether they should let them out or not. The resulting debate provides some of the best laughs in this dark comedy.

Though this is obviously a women against men play, the men in the audience seemed to be laughing just as hard as the ladies. Like Defending The Caveman, Lowe’s play also makes it easy to view the fun from both the masculine and feminine species. Admit it men! Haven’t we all fantasized about a good cold girl?

For tickets or more information call (415) 677-9596.

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