Wooly Mammoth Theatre Company —- Melton Rehearsal Hall
(Tonight, Friday, July 12, at 8:30 p.m.; full schedule here.)
They say: “In this rave-reviewed absurdist play / party game, a deadly plague begins killing the citizenry. Can you play against death, and win? How much fun can you have? We can’t all die, can we?”
Rachel K.’s Take:
Scombroid poisoning is no joke. Caused by eating decayed fish, the illness’s symptoms include intense, burning sensations in the mouth and respiratory stress. Despite dying from scombroid at least three times during A Killing Game, I spent the whole time in stitches.
A Killing Game comes from the immersive theater group Dog & Pony, and it’s different every time. The performance is designed around audience participation. This becomes clear as soon as you walk in and receive a set of cards. These cards are your instructions throughout the course of the show. They largely tell you when to die, or to be a coroner that declares others dead, or an undertaker that drags the dead to another part of the stage.
Don’t let all this talk of death fool you – the show is anything but morose. Anchored by seven spirited and hilarious performers, A Killing Game constantly finds humor in the everyday. After all, it’s just another day in the life…until the scombroid strikes. The performers particularly excel in the area of ridiculous accents, deployed frequently throughout the show.
Perhaps the only thing more enjoyable to watch than the actor (and this is a big perhaps) is the audience. Watching audience members ham it up is an absolute treat, and it’s a testament to the performers that they coax the inner grandstander out of so many.
My first card told me to die when I heard someone say something to the effect of, “We can’t all die, can we?” I might have mulled over the irony of it all, but I was too busy seizing up and convulsing before succumbing to the inevitable. Then I got back into my chair and laughed some more.
See it if: You love silly, fun comedy, or if you always wanted to go to one of those murder mystery parties. And you like playing games.
Skip it if: You’re looking for an existential rumination on how all life and death is just a game.