A move to the suburbs spirals into tragedy for salesman Vernon Cumberbatch. The company he works for is in the throes of a takeover and his wife shows no signs of reprieve from her clinical depression. On top of this, his teenage son is dallying in online suicide chat rooms.
Mark Norfolk’s examination of suburban life is a valiant attempt at contemporary drama, which is ultimately let down by both a perplexing, melodramatic narrative and an unsteady structure. Norfolk’s language thrives much better in the monologues that arise from the text, illustrating chat room conversations.
Director Jeffrey Kissoon flounders upon this foundation and his cast never appear at ease with the material. There is remarkably little rapport between any of the actors, with Jodyanne Richardson having little affinity with the text and Roderick Burrows offering nothing in terms of emotional subtext.
Ashley Gerlach makes an acceptable angry young teenager, but never once appears comfortable with the staging and looks suitably embarrassed at having to climb out of a coffin to take his bow. In fact, designer Heike Scharrer’s set and Sherry Coenen’s lighting reflect the emotional underscoring to this piece far better than any of the performers.