‘The Whale’ will leave you with a heavy heart

ENT_TheWhale_0320

At first glance, “The Whale” is pretty ugly.

A 600-pound man plopped on a sofa that’s about to fall through the floor, sitting amid strewn litter that once was the packaging for much of the food he gorged to get to this point. In the background, strains of waves hitting the shore play, intermittently paired with his own compromised, gurgling breaths.

This “Whale,” Charlie (John Kuntz), has very little human contact, earning his living teaching online courses and receiving all medical advice from Liz (Georgia Lyman), a friend who is a nurse and his greatest enabler. But as his life nears its predictable end, he begins to find a human connection with his teenage daughter Ellie (Josephine Elwood), who he hasn’t seen in years, her alcoholic mother Mary (Maureen Keiller) and Elder Thomas (Ryan O’Connor) a random (or is it) visiting Mormon missionary.

While you could easily get lost in analysis and the subtext of playwright Samuel Hunter’s piece, the dysfunctional spectacle in front of you is so riveting you can’t take your eyes off of it. As layer upon layer of emotional entanglement unravel, you begin to see that each of these people is an isolated specimen craving attention of their own.

Turns out, Charlie is the only one who seems comfortable in his plight and fate.

Kuntz, (in padding), imbues him with so much humanity you root for him to overcome. Though every strained breath and movement is heartbreakingly authentic, he nicely avoids victimizing him.

The remainder of the ensemble delivers equally impressive performances with Lyman and Elwood displaying great comic timing. Keiller, in a small but pivotal part, keeps it from veering into freak show territory with her stellar, grounded work.

 

If you go

“The Whale”

Through April 5th

BCA 539 Tremont St., Boston

$25 – $62

617-933-8600

www.SpeakEasyStage.com



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Is #JusticeForAvaLynn a case of bullying?

On Saturday, the hashtag #JusticeForAvaLynn became one of the trending topics on Twitter. Users circulated the above photo of 5-year-old AvaLynn, posted by her mother…

International

Terrorism could spread to US and Europe in…

Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah said terrorism would soon spread to Europe and the United States unless it is quickly dealt with in the Middle East,…

National

Ex-Bitcoin official to plead guilty to Silk Road…

Bitcoin entrepreneur Charlie Shrem has reached a plea deal to resolve U.S. charges that he engaged in a scheme to sell over $1 million of…

International

China's army changes tactics to prepare for war…

Chinese President Xi Jinping has said China will spur military innovation and called on the army to create a new strategy for "information warfare" as…

Gossip

Joan Rivers on life support: Report

TMZ reports that comedian Joan Rivers has been placed on life support, "completely reliant on machines to stay alive." Rivers has been hospitalized since she…

Movies

What's new on Netflix in September

September has a supernatural theme for Netflix. UFO "documentaries" and the survivalist reality series "Doomsday Preppers" are among the new series coming to the online…

Going Out

'Friends' coffeehouse Central Perk coming to NYC —…

"Friends" is coming back for a one-off special: "The One with the Free Coffee." Warner Bros. is bringing a pop-up replica of Central Perk, the…

Movies

Interview: 'As Above, So Below' directors: 5 ways…

The fraternal directors of the found footage horror "As Above, So Below" dish on the best ways to frighten the bejesus out of audiences.

NFL

3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

U.S. Soccer

5 facts about new England captain Wayne Rooney

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney was named as the new England captain by coach Roy Hodgson on Thursday.

NFL

Jets vs. Eagles: 3 things to watch

A win on Thursday night at the Eagles would give the Jets a 3-1 record and just their second winning preseason under head coach Rex Ryan.

Wellbeing

VIDEO: Still not wearing sunscreen? You will after…

Sunscreen is possibly the most often repeated - and ignored - piece of skincare advice. But Thomas Leveritt took a different tactic. With a short…

Food

Twitter used to track down sources of food…

When Chicago health officials saw Twitter users complaining about local food poisoning episodes, they reached out on Twitter to those users and often ended up…

Style

Trend: White hot on the 2014 Emmy's red…

White was one of the big trends on the Emmy's red carpet.

Food

Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…