There is no disputing Diana Son’s skill in creating believable and very plausible dialogue in her play Stop Kiss. It’s a well-crafted look at people living in their own microcosm, their own little private and at times chaotic bubble of a world.
Stop Kiss is the story of two savvy women, played by Kara Taylor Alberts as a very forthright Sara and Suzanne Boreel as an effervescent Callie, who are basically lesbians with hearts of gold, keen to make their way in the bright lights of New York City.
Sara takes a job as a school teacher in the Bronx and all that entails and Callie as a traffic reporter who gets to fly above the Manhattan skyline in a helicopter all day; a job that Sara believes is pure glamour.
Then tragedy ensues as the girls are attacked in the park one early morning and Sara is put into a coma. There is an immediate rapport with the audience and both actresses give confident performances and bring a real magic to Son’s writing showing raw emotion laced with very funny and observant one liners as each of the girls know they fancy each other but are at odds as to what to do about it.
After the attack Callie is interviewed by Detective Cole played by Matt Brewer with an air of pure aggression – as that is the only way he can perceive getting to the truth, and to understand why this ‘gay bashing’ featured two women rather than two men that he accept perhaps rather naively, to be the norm. His character adds to the power of the piece.
The other additional characters are George played by Ashley D Gayle, Alfie Webster as Peter and Rebecca Crankshaw playing Mrs Winsley and the nurse.
I felt they were surplus to requirements and this linked to what I felt be the slightly abstract and messy direction which interrupted the pace of the play.
However it is to the two leads credit that they both give riveting and delightful performances in equal measure, informing the audience of that happens when certain life choices are made influenced by the power of persuasion and politeness.
Photos by PBG Studios