Kill Me Now: death-defyingly great

This is a guest review by David Johnston *

Jake (Bob Frazer) and Joey (Adam Grant Warren) deliver killer performances (too much?) in Kill Me Now.

Kill Me Now is a play that’s smart enough to pretend to be the boring version of itself for awhile.

That’s a rather complicated compliment, so let’s break it down. We open with single father Jake Sturdy (Bob Frazer) giving teenage son Joey (Adam Grant Warren) a bath. Joey has physical disabilities but is mentally sound.

All of the opening plot points feel predictable. Joey and his dad argue about Joey’s day at school. Aunt Twyla (Luisa Jojic) shows up with a new tablet so Joey can be more independent! Jake is worried about his Joey’s independence! The sun rises in the east! Water is wet! This is, essentially, a setup for a paint-by-numbers Very Special Episode where everyone learns an important lesson about handicapped people.

This is not that story.

But Kill Me Now dares to play out predictable beats for an admirably long time. We get to know the members of Jake and Joey’s ecosystem. We learn to understand Joey’s distorted speech patterns. We see snapshots of their routine. We are lulled into security.

Understand: this is not a story about how hard it is to have a disabled son. Honestly, Joey winds up one of the most grounded characters, without ever betraying his key traits or transmuting into a mystic sage whose purpose is to fix others.

What Kill Me Now becomes is an exercise in emotional stacking: how much cosmic tragedy can a family take before snapping? Much of it falls on Jake, whose twinges of back pain eventually become a spinal stenosis diagnosis, which I suggest you avoid googling. [Read more…]

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