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

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…

National

California passes 'yes-means-yes' campus sexual assault bill

Californian lawmakers passed a law on Thursday requiring universities to adopt "affirmative consent" language in their definitions of consensual sex, part of a nationwide drive to curb sexual assault on…

National

Syrian refugees top 3 million, half of all…

By Stephanie NebehayGENEVA (Reuters) - Three million Syrian refugees will have registered in neighboring countries as of Friday, but many remain trapped by the advance…

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.

Movies

Criterion's new Jacques Demy box mixes the light…

Jacques Demy, the most effervescent of French New Wave filmmakers, gets a Criterion box all to himself, with classics like "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg."

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.

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…

Wellbeing

4 healthy ingredient swaps to make your meals…

When it comes to eating well, everyone knows they could be doing better. But cooking in an apartment on a busy schedule is a recipe…