Knife to the Heart is a clever new play about an old subject. It revolves around the relationship between a wife and husband with parenthood looming, and how his meddling Jewish mother fights for a slice of tradition that involves “a little painless pruning.”
The well-crafted comedy about circumcision is directed by Stan Zimmerman, who co-wrote the play with Christian McLaughlin. It offers an outstanding cast with Josh Zuckerman, Andrea Bowen, Anne DeSalvo, and Todd Sherry. All excel at the sharp humor that infuses the story about Marshall (Zuckerman) and Julie Ann (Bowen), an interfaith couple who are not embracing the idea of the ritual for their upcoming twin boys. Marshall’s Jewish mother Rhonda (DeSalvo) actually starts planning the bris before Julie Ann realizes what that celebration entails.
To snip or not to snip, that is the question. And Julie Ann’s gay best friend, Deacon (Sherry) is on hand to offer answers and very personal insight on the subject. Sherry is a burst of sunshine and sass with scene-stealing skills that enhance and elevates, along with capturing the fun Texas twang for the play’s Dallas setting. He is the comic relief as family secrets are revealed and Jewish guilt meets the Shiksa’s hormonal mood swings.
Bowen rocks the new mom emotional shifts with aplomb. And Zuckerman nails the nervous new dad torn between the demands of his wife and mother. The entertaining show is not about perpetuating stereotypes, but DeSalvo as the mother-in-law does check all the boxes. She also shows tremendous depth and, of course, heart.
Knife to the Heart is produced by Steve Abrams, Tony D’Angelo and Stefani Nicole Von Huben of the Chicago-based TADA Theatricals & Kicky Productions.
“Knife to the Heart” runs through Sunday, May 20 at The Complex Dorie Theatre located at 6476 Santa Monica Blvd. in Los Angeles. Show times are Friday and Saturday at 8pm and Sunday at 3pm. Tickets can be purchased at BrownPaperTickets.com.