A Night At the Theatre: Sue Aside

Phoenix KC Theatre & Lot in Life Productions premiered "Sue Aside..." at the Just Off Broadway Theatre for the 2015 Kansas City Fringe Festival. (Graphic property of Phoenix KC Theatre & Lot in Life Productions)

Phoenix KC Theatre & Lot in Life Productions premiered “Sue Aside…” at the Just Off Broadway Theatre for the 2015 Kansas City Fringe Festival. (Graphic property of Phoenix KC Theatre & Lot in Life Productions)

By: Jacob Elyachar, jakes-take.com

Ever known someone that has been stuck in a toxic relationship that they could not get out of?

In playwright Vicki Vodrey’s latest KC Fringe Festival offering, Sue Aside, audiences will be introduced to Sue (Laura Jacobs), a therapist who encounters her ex-boyfriend, Tevvor (Scott Cox), who claims to be sober and clean from his alcoholism.

Both of them have not seen each other in 18 months and five days and clearly Tevvor wants to receive a second chance from his scorned former lover. In order to do that, he used Joey Tribbiani’s alias, Ken Adams and the excuse of having troubles dealing with his dog (named after the love of his life) to schedule an audience with his ex.

However, this quickly turns into a dramatic verbal Paso Doble as Sue painfully reveals the harsh treatment she received at drunken Tevvor’s hands, while Tevvor tries and fails numerous times to win over his love by showcasing the good habits that he picked in his rehab stint and memories of Sue’s deceased cat, Pie.

This dark one-hour drama is probably one of Ms. Vodrey’s best works. Audience members would be extremely satisfied with the pop culture-laced verbal spats such as Sue’s acidic take on one piece of the Oprah legacy: “Dr. Phil gives my profession a scar” and the late Zelda Rubinstein’s immortal Poltergeist line: “This house is clean” that would send the audience on a brief trip to Memory Lane.

Multiple Vodrey productions that audiences have seen in the past feature either three or more actors in the production. However, this marked the first time that the reviewer saw Ms. Vodrey trusted two actors to steer this vessel. The audience and Ms. Vodrey would not be disappointed with these two actors. Ms. Jacobs, a KC Fringe Festival veteran, perfectly showcased how a woman (who was in a brutal psychological relationship) walked around broken glass around Tevvor, while trying to fall back in Tevvor’s abusive mind games.

As for Scott Cox, not only would audiences be impressed with his growth as an actor (the last time he was in a Lot in Life Production play was Thank You Notes (Headed to Heaven with Flat Jimmy Fallon)) but also be able to flip from playful to desperate, psychotic stocker in less than 60 seconds was equivocally impressive. In addition, many audience members take note that Cox might have used hybrid of numerous actors such as Mark Ruffalo, Paul Lynde and Jack Nicholson that influenced his portrayal of Teevor.

Final thoughts & grade: With Sue Aside’s success, Vodrey continues to prove that she is not only one of the Midwest’s most talented playwrights, but also a gem in the Kansas City performing arts community. Bravo, Vicki! A-

Want to see “Sue Aside” at the Just Off Broadway Theatre? Here are some of the show times: Sunday, July 19 (2:00 P.M.); Tuesday, July 21 (8:00 P.M.); Friday, July 25 (6:30 P.M.) & Saturday, July 25 (9:30 P.M.)

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Copyright 2020 Jacob Elyachar