Starring Kristen Thomson, Tom Rooney, Bahia Watson. Written by Kristen Thomson. Directed by Chris Abraham. Berkeley Street Theatre, to Feb. 2.
Kristen Thomson portrays a comedian in Someone Else, but the laughs in her latest play are few and bitter. Thomson stars as Cathy, a standup comic suffering a creative block, who suspects Peter (Tom Rooney), her husband of 18 years, is seeing someone else. He is, but it’s not the romantic liaison she imagines: The “someone else,” April (Bahia Watson), is a troubled, self-mutilating 19-year-old and Peter, a doctor, is drawn to her for complex reasons that have to do with his own secret guilt over a terrible act he committed in his youth. Thomson’s third play—after The Patient Hour and the popular I, Claudia—is a dark take on marital breakdown and midlife reckonings, where even the younger characters are miserable. Thomson’s writing is shrewd and occasionally moving, but the piece is disappointing overall. Chris Abraham directs without his customary confidence on Julie Fox’s cheerless empty-house set; Thomas Ryder Payne’s sound design makes unsettling use of the noise from one character’s electric wheelchair. At its most painful and ponderous, Someone Else makes you wish you were watching something else.