Conversations Not Fit For The American Dinner Table features a variety of characters that you would definitely not want round as dinner guests. The performance was written by Sol Max, a former speechwriter for a Congressional candidate. American politics, culture and media are the driving force behind the performance, which uses the recent shooting of Trayvon Martin in Florida as an inspiration.
The show is expertly performed by Kyle Davies from TongueTied Theatre. He successfully takes on various roles including a macho and boisterous politician, a young black boy, his victimised mother and a naive female activist. The complete transformation of the characters is expressed through swift costume changes where Kyle Davies wears a series of wooden masks that cover the top half of his face. This frees his jaw so he can talk - and during the performance he talks a lot, sometimes at breakneck speed. The masks add to the absurdity of the characters and helps convey their bravado and confidence. Kyle Davies is an accomplished performer and manages to embody the full range of characters. He expresses their emotions, ranging from arrogance to sorrow and performs with passion and attitude.
Only two of the characters in the performance appear sympathetic; the black boy and his mother who are both victims in different ways. The boy is a victim of ignorant gun laws and the mother a victim of the media. Puppetry is also present with a newsreader who looks and sounds like a rejected Sesame Street puppet. This character highlights how the media can manipulate the news that they report. We are shown how a 911 call can be edited to present the caller as being passive and also as being a racist.
The production completely presents how an unhealthy obsession with guns can have tragic consequences. It raises questions on gun laws, media manipulation and how people can be victimised. Conversations Not Fit For The American Dinner Table is a mouthful of a title and at times feels like an all-you-can-eat buffet where it is difficult to take it all in. Luckily for the audience Kyle Davies is an excellent performer who makes the whole experience easier to digest.