While PJ and I were in NYC last month, we saw four plays/musicals, including God of Carnage, which won the Tony for Best Play last year. We try to keep abreast of the best play winners, so PJ especially wanted to see this one. The original cast, which included James Gandolfini and Marcia Gay Harden, has already departed from the show. It now stars Christine Lahti, Jimmy Smits, and Annie Potts, all of whom we were looking forward to seeing.

The play centers around a meeting between two sets of parents. One of their sons has hit the other couple’s son with a stick, knocking out some of his teeth, during a playground brawl. Both couples begin the meeting by wanting to keep things polite and friendly, but as they realize that the playground incident is more complex than just one kid bullying another they also begin to fight among themselves over other issues. A few drinks later, everyone is screaming at everyone else.

All four members of the cast were good in their roles. Smits plays a big time lawyer who is constantly interrupted by one of his major clients calling him on his cellphone. He is married to Potts’ character, a wealth manager, and the two of them are the parents of the kid who hit the other one. Potts is great as a mother torn between wanting to keep everything friendly and her pride that her son has beaten up the other kid rather than be a “pussy” or a “fag.” Lahti plays the other mother. She wants to protect her son, who isn’t quite as innocent as she would like to believe, and wants the other kid punished. Her husband is played by Ken Stott, who acted in the London production of this play.

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