Gutterthief - Derek Trautwein

Reviewed By Ethan Platt

“Gutterthief”, a comedy by Derek Trautwein, combines a myriad of sit-com tropes, slapstick stage falls, and pertinent themes regarding current social issues into an entertaining tale of suburbia. This lovable account of past and present neighbors, family, and friends has as many laughs as it does touching moments of true humanity. Each character, portrayed beautifully, goes through a dynamic arc during the 60 minutes of honest and earnest hilarity. From sisters still bickering about fights from years prior, to a neighbor being the most Karen-est of Karens, and an easter egg hunt for a lot of vape pens, the show’s pace never lets up and the audience can barely take a breath between unexpected belly laughs.

While some technical issues and some non-realistic points of conflict, i.e., thunder being confused for a gunshot leading to the greatest feeling of tension in the show, the acting of this ensemble (including Dawn Youngs, Larry Goodman, Jeannie Blau, Jessica Whitfield, Shawn Murphy, Brian Duskey, Joshua Walker, and Terraye Watson) created a realistic sense of suburban community and neighborly love in this perfectly paced comedy. Youngs and Goodman’s not so perfect marital bliss was hysterically heartwarming while Jeannie Blau truly became the most loveable Karen the audience could even imagine. Whitfield and Murphy’s onstage chemistry was incredibly enjoyable to watch with Murphy’s unwavering comedic timing and Whitfield’s endearing sincerity. The mostly silent but always present Watson helped maintain the watchful spirit of the neighborhood while making the audience keep watch of his portrayal of the silent but very active neighbor.

With writing reminiscent of a 90’s comedy series, a perfectly simplistic set, and a phenomenal ensemble of actors “Gutterthief” leaves the audience with a feel-good feeling and possibly a contact high. This episode of what could be a Kansas City sit-com is a crowd pleaser that, for some, will surely be a Fringe favorite.

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