Review: Strange But Perfect (online)

A vibrant black comedy written by and co-starring Carlo Lorenzo Garcia, Strange But Perfect is a story of two people brought together by a strange set of circumstances.

Dee (Natalie D Garcia) is a drifter who is first seen talking to an unknown presence as ansaphone messages click through. It seems something odd has happened, and we feel more uneasy when Charlie (Carlo) arrives to see his grandma.

Whether grandma makes an appearance or not (sort-of-spoiler, she does and she doesn’t) is less important than how Dee and Charlie start to explore and accept common ground.

As the two get to know each other, and the story unfolds through a series of witty scenes, a game, and a couple of joints, this play addresses not just the pandemic but family, love, respect and endurance.

Production image from Strange But Perfect

Although the subject matter is often dark, it is amusing and written in such a way to feel it just might have happened that way. Both Garcias, under A Skola Summers’s direction, capture the essence of their characters.

Dee is matter of fact, devil-may-care, tough; Charlie is tense, rule-following, nervois. When he first arrives he’s in PPE mask and gloves, but slowly unwinds as the spirit of his grandma pulls him back to sociability.

A final coda set away from the main interior location of grandma’s house is both welcome, and sweet, and even what may have been a poignant scene raises a laugh. Just as real life actually does, with all its ripples along the way.

You can watch Strange But Perfect online until 28 February, on-demand. Produced by Street Corner Arts, lit by Shelby Gebhart with sound by Joshua Hanson.

Image credit: Steve Rogers Photography

I previously reviewed A Portrait of My Mother, also written by and featuring Carlo Lorenzo Garcia.