With spectacular performances from all performers and incisive writing from Brad Fraser, Kill Me Now is an emotional must-see.
Kill Me Now follows Jake (Bob Frazer), a single dad caring for his teen son Joey (Adam Grant Warren) who has a severe disability. Handling Joey’s puberty is hard enough, but when Jake develops a serious medical condition he becomes the one to rely on the people around him, including his sister Twyla (Luisa Jojic), his secret lover Robyn (Corina Akeson), and Joey’s buddy Rowdy (Braiden Houle). As Jake’s condition worsens, an ethical dilemma troubles the household as everyone is forced to consider the possibility of saying goodbye…
Although this show has a pretty focused story that doesn’t delve into character’s backstories too much, that development was always hovering just under the surface. Each character feels whole, as though they were real people walking onstage and inviting the audience into a moment in their lives. No decisions felt confused or lacking in substance—they were always exactly what could be expected.
That inevitability never made the show feel stale, but instead allowed for the actors to thrive in their roles and push their characters to develop deep emotional ties. Bob Frazer is stunning as the father Jake. I‘ve missed seeing him on Vancouver stages for the last few years, but this return was a masterstroke. He deftly manoeuvres through fatherhood and the struggles of illness, bringing a softness to this resilient, stoic character. His role develops many of the ethical issues of the show with a deep understanding of their complexities.
Adam Grant Warren brings a solid realism to Joey. Warren and Frazer’s familial chemistry is off the charts. They skillfully managed a tender bond while still hitting the normal highs and lows of a typical teenager–father relationship. Luisa Jojic holds a subtle grace on stage as the sister Twyla, dealing with her own anxieties and stresses as she helps Jake and Joey. Akeson handled her awkward, outsider role well, and Houle also managed a wonderful balance in his role as the comedic centre that develops into a strong support for the family. The sincerity in each performance was simply moving.
Despite some heavy topics, Brad Fraser’s writing brought brevity and darkly comic moments into the two–hour show. Kill Me Now feels fresh and deeply human. This soulful show runs until October 27. Tickets are $17-$33 at www.firehallartscentre.ca