Review: ‘Exit, Pursued by a Bear’ has teeth, but lacks bite

ENTB_ExitBear_1023

Though there are problems with both the play and the production, Theatre on Fire’s “Exit, Pursued by a Bear” is still worth seeing.

The 80-minute tale of a browbeaten woman, Nan, taking theatrically inspired revenge on her abusive, lowlife husband Kyle is rife with funny moments and one-liners written sharply enough that they seem designed to induce belly laughter. Unfortunately, the delivery of those lines isn’t always quite as razor sharp.

As if blunderingly pursued by the title beast, the actors are too often stepping all over each other’s lines. Director Darren Evans would do well to slow the pace, allowing the audience to hear one line (and likely laugh) before the next one begins. As is, the production feels rushed, contrived and barely conversational.

Timing, however, isn’t the only issue with “Exit, Pursued by a Bear.” Playwright Lauren Gunderson smartly uses humor to tackle the topic of domestic violence. When it’s time to get serious, however, there just isn’t enough depth to her characters for the audience to truly feel their pain. The last 10 minutes of the play crawl on, followed by a pointless, poorly executed karaoke scene that should have been left on the proverbial cutting room floor.

It’s not all bad, however. Tim Hoover is convincingly creepy in his disturbing portrayal of Kyle, who spends most of the show bound and gagged with duct tape, watching a series of vignettes performed by his wife’s best gal pals.

Samantha Evans garners the most empathy in her portrayal of Sweetheart, a local stripper with big Hollywood dreams. Cameron Gosselin, meanwhile, hits some of the funniest marks as flamboyant gay best friend Simon, but — aside from over-the-top camp — his role is never really fleshed out. As the Jimmy Carter-worshipping Nan, who should stand strong as the show’s protagonist taking matters into her own hands, Mary-Liz Murray is dull and rather lifeless.

There are high points in the show, moments that hit nerves both comical and uncomfortable. But, without compassion, the story never fulfills its dark, insightful potential.

“Exit, Pursued by a Bear”
Through Oct. 26
Charlestown Working Theater
442 Bunker Hill St., Charlestown
$20, 866-811-4111
theatreonfire.org



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Sprint and T-Mobile offer further price discounts

Sprint unveiled a plan on Thursday that gives subscribers access to unlimited data for $60 a month, the industry's cheapest unlimited data offering.

National

Hundreds pay it forward at Florida Starbucks in…

The spontaneous chain of kindness continued for about 11 hours, totaling 457 transactions by the time it ended.

National

Weather system east of Caribbean could turn into…

An area of low pressure located east of the Caribbean Sea has a 50 percent chance of becoming a tropical depression or storm in the next 48 hours, U.S. forecasters…

National

U.S. hospital to discharge doctor treated with experimental…

An American doctor who contracted Ebola treating victims of the deadly virus in Liberia has recovered and will be discharged on Thursday by the Atlanta hospital that treated him with…

Movies

Review: 'When the Game Stands Tall' is both…

The high school football saga "When the Game Stands Tall" fumbles around for a focus while Jim Caviezel offers the most low-key coach in history.

Movies

Girlfriend in a coma: Chloe Grace Moretz

Chloe Grace Moretz is the best cheerleader "If I Stay" could ask for. As the star of the film adaptation of the successful YA novel…

The Word

The Word: Summer lovin' for Zac Efron and…

Ah, the summer romance. So intense, so fleeting. With Labor Day fast approaching, it should come as little surprise that the incredibly surprising romance between…

The Word

The Word: The Zac Efron-Michelle Rodriguez summer fling…

  Ah, the summer romance. So intense, so fleeting. With Labor Day fast approaching, it should come as little surprise that the incredibly surprising romance…

NFL

Fantasy football draft guide: How to draft your…

Many are wondering if we’re entering a new age in fantasy football drafting — one where running backs take a backseat.

NFL

Jets vs. Giants: 3 Giants storylines to watch

The Giants have plenty to work on as they reach the dress rehearsal preseason game Friday night against the rival Jets.

NFL

Jets vs. Giants: 3 Jets storylines to watch

Metro looks at three Jets storylines to watch as they play the Giants Friday.

NFL

Giants expected to work Corey Washington into first-team…

The day of reckoning for the Giants' fringe players will fall upon them Friday night against the Jets.

Sex

Big weddings may lead to long-term happiness

Dreaming of a big wedding? A new study indicates that the longer your guest list, the happier you’ll be in the long run. l A…

Sex

Online dating for every generation

Frank Jackson and his mother Maggie are like lots of modern families: They have dinner together regularly, keep each other updated on their lives —…

Wellbeing

Going green could be the key to getting…

If we could just pursue the things that would actually make us happy, we could help the environment too, according to a New York researcher.…

Tech

Siren: A new dating app that puts women…

Online dating can be brutal, especially for single women. Noting that many women hate wading through inappropriate messages and photos, two tech entrepreneurs decided to…