by Ed Malin · October 27, 2014
The time has come to put the nightmare theater series The Blood Brothers Present to bed. Now, at the Brick, you can see the final collection of short plays by Nat Cassidy, Mariah MacCarthy, and Mac Rogers featuring these pale, bloody eyed, brutally honest, and generally brutal characters. The Blood Brothers (Pete Boisvert and Patrick Shearer, who with Stephanie Cox-Williams directed this installment) have been undergoing psychiatric treatment by Doctor Queen (Kristen Vaughan) and Orderly Joe (J. Robert Coppola) at Hospital One and will soon be undergoing execution, like so many others there (whether by accident or on purpose). Fortunately, these photo-negatives of decent human beings are not amused by having their deaths turned into a pageant and are determined to entertain you. There is a special splatter row, in case you're feeling like a blood magnet.
Nat Cassidy starts off by trying to take away YOUR sanity in the piece "The Art of What You Want." This playlet (or platelet, for its hemorrhage moment) is Hospital One inmate Harris's (Michael Markham) story of how he arrived. If his wife Emily (Morgan Zipf-Meister) died in a car accident, why does she walk through the kitchen every morning? Friend and scientist of sorts Terry (Lynn Berg) can't crack it. Harris, who explains how any rational businessman would approach this situation, decides a lot of people need to be punished.
"Daddy's Girl" by Mariah MacCarthy is a poignant story of a drive that George (Tom Reid) and Sely (Jessica Luck) take that does not turn out the way it was planned. This production, of course, questions what is meant by "family" and whether you, dear, innocent, vegan reader, are just like the Blood Brothers.
"All in Good Fun" is Nat Cassidy's song cycle about an enfant terrible. Yes, a seven year-old child raised by a Nurse (Karle J. Myers) inside Hospital One has a chance of internalizing some of the medicine practiced therein. Andre Grijalva (John Hurley), the watchman, has some great moments running through the dark building live on stage. Andre and I must have thought children weren't that bad, but we were wrong.
"Joy Junction" by Nat Cassidy ["as cannibalized by Mac Rogers"] is a chance for Hospital One employees Ronald (Roger Nasser) and Marty (Collin McConnell) to validate their sick and disgusting attitudes towards dolls and playtime. Perhaps kiddies in general would kill for a life-sized doll to play with. Is that really a doll they have there with them? Please don't take off the mask. Eww….
Finally, comes "Arby's" by Roy, err, Mac Rogers. Before killing the Blood Brothers, Doctor Queen exhibits some security camera footage of how she came into custody of these "draining" little maniacs. Upon securing the premises of an Arby's restaurant, the Brothers had conversations with the various patrons before slaughtering them (even Bob Laine, who is innocent of everything except being a Cavaliers Fan). It could well be this gift of interpersonal skills that saves the condemned. And as for all the lonely people in Hospital One, where do they all belong? Would Sonia/Leslie (Ivanna Cullinan) ever confirm that she is being punished for someone else's crimes? Would new arrivals Tim (C.L. Weatherstone) and Jim (Andy Chmelko) stand a chance of surviving in the outside world?
I congratulate everyone behind the show and the whole gut-wrenching series. Here's hoping it's not the end. It sucks so much less than Orange is The New Black.