Review by Devan Marr
60 min | Dramedy, Physical | PG
What happens when your local show opens later into the festival with a 2 for 1 ticket deal? You get a sold out house for Dead Unicorn Ink’s production of Chesterfield. It is a great show that you should definitely go see. Not because it is an exceptional piece of high art performed by the best actors, but because it involves an anthropomorphized couch. Yes, the star of this show is a full sized talking couch puppet with an agenda. Oh and there’s a live rabbit, so that’s a nice touch.
The play focuses on a couple finishing up their second year of marriage and there are some troubles. Zach and Sarah seem to have some difficulty communicating. Zach feels like he can’t do anything right, and Sarah has been keeping some important information from him. The couch knows, and plays its roll of the villain perfectly. With rotating ‘eyebrow’ pillows and a foot rest ‘mouth’ the couch is as engaging a character as any of the other actors.
The show itself seemed to have a few technical issues and opening night jitters. A stutter here, a prop getting stuck there, nothing that really took away from the overall production. I suspect they’ll be worked out for the next performances.
The actors are fun and engaging, alternating between serious moments that would give a person pause and light-hearted one liners. There are a lot of quick laughs in this show but fortunately they weren’t too over the top. Although I suppose you could tease out life lessons about how communication is important in a relationship, or don’t let other people plant seeds of distrust in your head (especially when that person is a couch), Chesterfield is not a serious show. Although it’s billed as a dramedy, the overall absurdity of the premise makes it difficult to take the serious moments seriously. So if you were hoping for a sober probing piece of theatre, you might want to look elsewhere. But you shouldn’t because this show was just a delight to see. The packed house seemed to agree and even my civil engineer roommate was in stitches for a good portion of the play.
All in all, Chesterfield is a great Fringe show. It’s not an incredibly well-polished piece of work but it is definitely worth an hour of your time. Filled with easy laughs, likeable characters, and a sociopathic sofa, Chesterfield should definitely be on your go see list.
Chesterfield is playing in Venue 3 – Academic Hall on June 24 at 5pm; June 25 at 5pm; June 27 at 9:30pm; June 28 at 10pm; and June 29 at 11pm. Tickets are $10.