An all-star cast headlines this sharp-edged comedy
Set in present-day New York City, God of Carnage is the story of two married couples who meet for the first time shortly after their respective sons have a nasty schoolyard tangle. Michael and Veronica, whose son’s teeth were knocked out with a stick, invite Alan and Annette, whose son did the knocking, to their home to settle matters such as who will pay for new teeth. But any attempt at having a civilized discussion about whose child is responsible for the fight, and how the parents may have influenced such destructive behavior, quickly devolves into finger-pointing, name-calling, stomping around and throwing things. And that’s before they break out the rum!
What is God of Carnage Like?
Fast, furious and very, very funny, the show runs without an intermission and could be the quickest 90 minutes on Broadway. The script goes for every kind of laugh in the book, from one-liners to sight gags and physical comedy, plus humor both deadpan and gross-out. It’s pretty action-packed, too, as the cast gets into several rows and eventually makes a bigger mess of Michael and Veronica’s living room than any child ever could. Hilarious as it is, the comedy here is definitely dark, with serious moments throughout and an ending that’s not exactly heartwarming. As gravy, you get to watch four celebrities duke it out in a top-notch play.
Is God of Carnage Good for Kids?
Not for the pre-teen set, since the entire play involves four adults chatting with each other in a living room—a beyond boring situation they’d probably run from at home. Besides, the fighting could freak the really young ones out. (They seem funny to us, but remember how you felt as a youngsterwhen you saw adults get angry?) For the 13-and-over set, however, the abundance of smart-yet-naughty laughs could score. But keep in mind that this play’s the Broadway equivalent of an R-rated movie, with a steady stream of off-color language, hearty alcohol consumption and one special effect that wouldn’t look out of place if used in “the big party” scene from any number of ‘80s teen comedies.