October 20, 2014
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Entertaining 'Animals' at Cranston's Black Box Theatre
Don Fowler

The Burbage Theatre Company fills the tiny black box theatre with laughter at Cranston’s Artists’ Exchange space, with Kevin Broccoli’s new work, “Animals.” Broccoli is a prolific and talented writer who is making a name for himself in Rhode Island’s theatre community.

He has taken the cliché, “If only animals could talk” and turned it into an hour-long, fast-paced theatre piece that was at times silly, at times clever and all of the time entertaining.

“Animals” is directed by Alex D. Gorgone, using 11 actors that Broccoli described as “an exciting new breed of performers.” There was no program, so we know little about them, except that for the most part, they were good. The production consisted of at least a couple dozen brief vignettes, ranging from extremely clever to cute.

The anthropomorphic (I haven’t used that word since college) approach offered multiple opportunities for clever sight and verbal gags. If one fell flat, there were more on the way to provide the audience an opportunity to groan, guffaw or giggle.

There’s a bit about pigeons arguing over eating food off the ground that is hysterical. Two birds deciding whether to fly north or south is very clever. Domesticated cats and dogs presented fodder for Broccoli, with one actress playing a recurring role as an independent cat who comments on her owners.

I liked the bit about the two sharks but thought the rooster bit failed the humor test. Ever wonder why the chicken crossed the road? Broccoli has this one figured out.

“Animals” succeeds in its early stages, with future opportunities to edit, improve and expand. It is a clever concept with great potential. It is refreshing to see local talent writing, directing and acting in Cranston.

You can catch “Animals” this weekend, July 12-14, at 8 p.m. at Actors Exchange, 50 Rolfe St., Cranston’s Auburn section. Tickets are $15. For more information go on line at btctheatre@gmail.com.


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