Hissy fits: From left, God of Carnage actors Alan Brooks, Robbie Godfrey, Lizzy Hadler and Laura Bardgett. *Photo supplied
Hissy fits: From left, God of Carnage actors Alan Brooks, Robbie Godfrey, Lizzy Hadler and Laura Bardgett. *Photo supplied

FRIDAY, MAR. 16: When adults mix ill feelings with alcohol they can put even the most misbehaved children to shame.

This is clearly evident in the characters in God of Carnage, play being staged by the Bermuda Musical and Dramatic Society from March 23 to 31.

Tantrums, name-calling and physical violence feature strongly in this snappy 90-minute comedy which, a version of which recently ran on Broadway.

Described as a “highly charged tag-team wrestling match” it tells the story of two married couples who are forced to hold a meeting about a playground fight between their children.

Grown ups

The son of Annette and Alan (played by Lizzy Hadler and Robbie Godfrey) attacked the son of Veronica and Michael (Laura Bardgett and Alan Brooks) and so the adults gather to resolve the issue in a grown up manner. That is until their true feelings begin to surface.

The original play was written in 2006 by French playwright Yazmina Reza who wrote the critically acclaimed play Art. The BMDS production is directed by head of Drama at Warwick Academy Chris Jones.

Following Christopher Hampton’s translation, the play rocketed to Broadway in 2009 where all four main characters were nominated for Tony Awards. Marcia Gay Harden won her Tony for Best Leading Actress. Director for the original London production in 2008, Matthew Warchus, won a Tony for Best Direction of a Play while in 2009 the play won the Olivier Awards for Best New Play.

Ending its Broadway run in June 2010, it became the third longest running play of the 2000s.

In 2011 famed director Roman Polanski directed the film adaption, Carnage, which was shot in Paris due to Polanski’s outstanding criminal conviction in the US.

The dynamics of the relationships change dramatically throughout the play as do the individual characters. Bardgett explains: “During that horrible first meeting where they have something unsavoury to discuss, it is all fake and everyone tries to put on the airs and graces but as things progress, the snide remarks begin.

“The teams begin to change — at one point the girls band together and attack the boys and the men attack the girls.

“It is all to do with the fact that we are all supposed to be above what we are actually being. We are trying to be on the moral high road but by the end of it we are even worse than the children!”

Brooks adds: “For a small number of characters there is a huge number of combinations revealed in terms of the individual characters we play and the relationships between each of those characters.”

Veronica is perhaps the most pretentious character, regarding herself as an established author and photographer specialising in the “Darfur tragedy”. However, most of her knowledge is merely gleaned from the newspapers.

Michael starts off as a “subservient, hen pecked” husband in Brook’s words but soon reveals himself in a horrible light. Alan is a lawyer who is married to his work and his wife Annette is seemingly polite and timid. Hadler explains: “We (Alan and Annette) think we care about our child but we are more concerned about our looks and our accessories. We are quite shallow but want to give the impression that we do care.”

Brooks said: “The way the play ends is a way that very few people will have ever seen a play end before. I’ve never even heard of it – it will be quite unusual.”

Laura Bardgett added: “It is described a s a rollercoaster and really that’s exactly what it is. It builds up at the beginning and it gets to a point and then it literally goes wham!

“And if we can get the timing right, it will be 60 minutes of mayhem!”

What: God of Carnage
Where: Daylesford Theatre, Hamilton
When: March 23 to March 31. No performances on March 25 and 26
Time: 8pm
Tickets: $25 tickets can be purchased from Daylesford Theatre box office from 5:30pm to 7pm from Thursday, March 15 to Thursday, March 22 weekdays only and 7pm to 8pm before performances. Box office can be contacted by calling 292-0848. Online bookings can be made at www.bmds.bm (online box office is suspended while the physical box office is open).