Adam Rapp?s "Stone Cold Dead Serious" shares much in common with the video game genre, which is at its core over the top, abrasive, profane and most definitely rated "M" for mature.
The play introduces us to the Ledbetter clan, an "All in the Family" for the reality-show age, where the term "meathead" is replaced by a more profane insult, though in "Stone Cold" it is also a salutation and term of endearment.
Sanity and salvation?s best bet lies in a 16-year-old, blue-haired, amateur samurai, part-time male prostitute and computer gaming master named Wynne, aptly named, as winning a sort of "Mortal Kombat" competition come to life may mean $1 million for our hero, a mortgage paid, a father?s operation secured, and a sister free of drugs "in a place with all the maple trees."
Definitely not for the "Sound of Music" crowd, "Stone Cold" features a dynamic cast led by Kristen Lewis, whose passion for this play brings Rapp?s work to New York?s Clurman Theater.
Telling stories that would make a sailor blush (and reach for the penicillin), Lewis is innocence lost, sweetly cajoling her brother to give her a hug ... so she can probe his pockets for $5.
Lewis? performance is doubly notable, as she is also the play?s producer. She acknowledged this added responsibility for the performance to be a success had made her "nervous? but I think it went really well, and the audience response was great."
There?s a wonderful use of multimedia to create the proper "videographic mood," and with colorful characters like Can Kornman?s uber-tattooed Snake Lady and the occasional cameo by weapon-wielding Ninjas, the audience?s eyes stay riveted to the stage ... like players entranced by a computer game.