The Smell of the Kill is a dark comedy about three Chicagoan couples who take turns meeting for dinner. This night it is Nicky’s turn to host. Friends Debra and Molly join her in the kitchen to clean up after dinner while the three husbands are “playing golf” in the dining room. We never actually see the husbands, but they are heard loud and clear throughout the show as they drunkenly yell at and complain to their wives, and generally behave like neanderthals off stage.
As the evening goes on it is revealed that the three women don’t actually like each other all that much, but they do have one thing in common: a hatred for their husbands. Soon enough, an incredibly convenient way to murder all three of them arises, and the three women must decide whether they should let the men die or go save them.
Mandy Armes is great as the brash wife who takes no guff from her husband with a criminal secret. Diahanna Davidson channels Joan Cusack perfectly as Debra, wife of the cheating Marty. And Morgan Voellger has perfect comic timing as the ditzy and beautiful Molly, whose husband is way too possessive. I was disappointed that I would not actually see Max Tachis (Jay) as he was absolutely brilliant in Renegade Theatre‘s 9 Circles. But he, Jimmy Allan (Danny) and Frank Swaringen (Marty) fill their roles as the loud mouthed doomed husbands with exuberance.
The City Lights theater is on the small side, seating 100 people, but the stage is large and the setting for this play spared no expense. The seating is first come first serve, but the chairs themselves are super comfortable and all have a great view of the stage. There are also cash-only refreshments available, including wine.
The Opening Night after party was hosted extravagantly by Cafe Stritch, and the smells were incredible. Having sadly just started a diet, I crept out of the theater quickly when the show was over and tried not to look hungrily at the amazing spread of food available for the entire audience to enjoy. Opening Night is always the best night of theater!
Coming up at City Lights:
Amadeus by Peter Shaffer, March 20 – April 20
The Language Archive by Julia Cho, May 29 – June 29
Monty Python’s Spamalot!, July 24 – August 31