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The Smell of the Kill 

This savage little comedy about suburban wives is a small delicacy

Wednesday, May 5 2004
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In a just world, this savage little comedy about suburban wives would be banned. Nicky, Debra, and Molly chat with Updike-y realism in an upscale kitchen about their marriages, careers, and near-middle-aged disappointments, while their apelike husbands howl nonsense and random abuse from the living room (they're prerecorded). We learn that Nicky loathes her man, who's been accused of embezzlement. Molly hates hers for darker reasons, but feels too insecure to leave. Only Debra claims to feel satisfied, but she's in denial about her guy's girlfriend. While the trio chats over glasses of pinot grigio and fixes a whipped-cream-topped dessert, the men lumber down to the basement and trap themselves in a meat locker. The rest of Michele Lowe's play shows the women debating whether to let them freeze. If Lowe had reversed her genders to depict three realistic men wondering whether to snuff their faceless hysterical wives, her career would have been ended by a PC firing squad, but she pulls off her conceit with so much easy wit that I won't insist on equal treatment. Strong and balanced performances from Stacy Ross, Susi Damilano, and Zehra Berkman, not to mention a vivid set by Bill English, make this production a small (75-minute) delicacy.

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