‘Curse of the Starving Class’ Review

By Bri Scharmann in A&E

As a dark comedy, the play delivers. One minute I smirked as Ella lectured her daughter about feminine hygiene products, and the next I was stunned to see the father, Weston, passed out drunk on the kitchen table.

The dialogue is fast, often too fast, while the scenes are not.  The play is character-driven as opposed to plot-driven. It can be hard to engage an audience with dated conflicts such as farm foreclosure and running away from home on horseback. The dialogue was also confusing at times, especially when a conversation changed abruptly and became a monologue.

The script had me raising my eyebrows with odd twists, such as a character talking to a maggot-infested lamb in the kitchen, but the cast had me applauding. Even while the fast-paced dialogue overwhelmed at times, the actors performed magnificently. When Wesley and Emma screamed at each other, their performances made me empathize with the sibling dynamic.

While the audience may scratch their heads at the bizarre monologues, the family’s interactions ring true. There is something for everyone to appreciate when siblings fight over the mundane or parents criticize their children’s interests.

The scene when Wesley pees on his sister’s homework, while jarring and mildly funny, symbolizes my views on the play: Questionable writing but excellent acting.

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