Reviewed by John Dexter.
The show begins as we all shift uncomfortably on our individual gym mats in a small theatre high up the AC Arts building. Kate Englefield slinks onstage through a clothesline and explains the nuances of small town myths. Everyone had their own version of the story, she says.
Written by American playwright Laura Schellhardt, the K of D tells and retells the story of the death of country boy Jamie McGraw and the ensuing effects on the surrounding community, in particular his twin sister. It’s a one woman show, and in front of a backdrop of corn, a clothesline, and a jetty, Englefield acts out every single character from this corner of small town Ohio while providing her own narration.
Her characterisations are impressive in range and evoke the kind of clichés we’ve come to expect from films like Stand By Me. One part small town hickery, one part rural wisdom, one part carnivorous sexuality. The action ranges from delightfully amusing arguments between kids to fairly disturbing portrayals of the idiosyncracies of the town psychopath.
It’s an ambitious effort to present this whole show on the back of one talented actress and she pulls it off well enough. However the first act drags in introducing the ensemble of characters and the overall plot. Englefield’s narration also comes across as preachy at times which undermines the mythical, amoral vibe of the show.
But for a few quibbling faults, this is an interesting and unique production presented by a strikingly talented actress.