The opening moments for "The Smell of the Kill" seem very ordinary. The audience sees three women in a spacious kitchen, talking while their husbands (offstage) practice their golf swing in the living room. However, the illusion of normalcy doesn't last long, as each woman starts to reveal none-too-happy marriages.
"The Smell of the Kill," by Michele Lowe and directed by Alex Nine, which opened at Western Reserve Playhouse Sept. 13, focuses on three women whose husbands get together once a month for dinner and conversation at each other's homes. This time, they meet at Nicky's house. It's apparent early on that Nicky (played by Jen Klika) is not happy with her husband. But then that's little surprise, given that her spouse has been accused of embezzling millions. Molly (played by Cristy Wright) seems to have an idyllic marriage on the surface, but she wants to start a family, and he doesn't. Debra (played by Chris White) seems to be the most loyal to her husband, but is aware that her dedication is not matched by her straying spouse. All three of them are faced with a dilemma when the three husbands inadvertently lock themselves into a meatlocker Nicky's husband had bought for game. Do they try to get them out? Or do they pretend to be elsewhere on a walk while their significant others freeze to death?
"It's creepy," Klika said of the show. "It gives us chills every night."
"But it's fun," White, who lives in Aurora, added. "I love the script."
Wright said the play is called "black comedy for a reason."
"It's a challenge to make the characters likable, even as they do this terrible thing," Wright said. "They have been getting together for 20 years because of their husbands but don't know each other all that well. They discover they have more in common than they know."
The audience never sees them, but playing the spouses -- who can be heard offstage -- are Michael Cranston, Michael James and Nick Hahn.
Klika, White and Wright work well together in this superbly done show. The pacing is excellent, and the show manages to elicit laughs and chills at the same time.
Tickets and show information
"The Smell of the Kill" runs Fridays and Saturdays through Sept. 28, with curtain at 8 p.m.
Western Reserve Playhouse is at 3326 Everett Road, on the corner of Revere Road. Cost is $12 for adults and $10 for seniors and students.
For details or reservations, call 330-620-7314 for reservations.
Western Reserve Playhouse will host its second fundraiser Oct. 11, with "Lady Vaudeville."
Alan Klesh, a Board Member of the Western Reserve Playhouse has written and will star in "Lady Vaudeville," a musical salute to the era of Vaudeville. His accompanist will be John Ebner who recently was the music director of "Applause" at the theatre. Linda Waranai who appeared in the theatre's first production "House for Sale" will also be making a special guest appearance in both sketches and music.
The evening will be a salute to the music made familiar by Al Jolson, Eddie Cantor and Sophie Tucker and the audience is invited to sing along with the performers. The intermission will be highlighted by the raffling of baskets and prizes of every sort and of course appetizers and desserts will be served to heighten the excitement.
Tickets will be a donation of $10, for the event but special donors of $15 will also receive 5 free raffle tickets and donors of $20 will receive 10 free raffle tickets. Proceeds from this event will be used for repairs to the theatre and for the Revere High School scholarship fund which the playhouse awards every year to a graduating thespian at Revere High School.
Western Reserve Playhouse also announced its 2014 season.
Scheduled for next summer are "Moonlight and Magnolias" by Ron Hutchinson, which will run June 6 through 21; "Shout! The Mod Musical" by Phillip George and David Lowenstein July 18 through Aug. 9; and "Mauritius" by Theresa Rebeck Sept. 12 through 27.