Home Entertainment Tracy Letts’ Scorching Script Buoys Uneven “Killer Joe”

Tracy Letts’ Scorching Script Buoys Uneven “Killer Joe”

By Bill Hirschman, FloridaTheaterOnStage.com, for  SouthFloridaReporter.com, Sept. 27, 2015 – Killer Joe, playwright Tracy Letts’ 1993 debut writ large in feral violence and bottomless venality, is such a powerful brew of toxicity that the script carries along an uneven production at Andrews Living Arts.

No matter how heedlessly and blithely Letts overruns any social convention you can think of, he never fails to find another roadblock he can’t smash through in his examination of the dark depths of what passes for humanity.

While the cast is sometimes nearly adequate to the task, sometimes not, director David Wayne Scism understands Letts’ meld of inky black humor and excoriating melodrama. As a result, Andrews’ production can be quite funny at times and, in the closing scenes of both acts, achieves such a voyeuristic wallowing in tragedy that the audience stops breathing.

But while the young cast bravely invests all they have in these roles, their skill levels are not quite developed enough to nail this play. Only one cast member is fully believable and the linchpin role of the title character is fatally miscast, undercutting the entire evening.