REVIEW: “The Artificial Jungle” at Restless Artist’s Theatre

Photo credit: Juli Fair

By Kylie Masznicz

The Restless Artist’s Theatre (RAT) has produced another hilarious murder play, this time with a piece entitled “The Artificial Jungle.” 

The play takes us inside a family-owned pet shop run by the optimistic but cheap Chester. His wife, Roxanne, helps run things and take care of Chester’s mother but is frustrated with the amount of work she has. After convincing Chester to hire a helping hand, the charming Zachary joins the team and woos Roxanne. 

Roxanne decides she’s through leading the life she is living and plots to murder Chester by convincing Zachary to feed him to the store piranhas. 

Chester’s character originally had other actors lined up to play him, but after complications, the role was awarded to Cory Hawkins. This was his first performance with RAT and we hope it isn’t his last. Cory’s interpretation of Chester created the perfect blend of naïve yet cunning. It’s a shame he had to be fed to the piranhas… 

The piranhas were a feature character within the play and brought most of the comedic relief. They would react to the action occurring and also dance to music during intermission – which was surprisingly entertaining! Some serious laughs were served from these puppets.

Photo credit: Juli Fair

Contrastingly, the death scene was very realistic and I urge the audience to brace themselves. The lack of music during the action adds to the dramatics and is very unsettling to watch. There is also explicit language used in the play. Fair warning that this is not the show for a younger audience!

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Something I felt wasn’t done well within the play was the development between Roxanne and Zachary. One scene they met and were flirting and the next they were plotting murder. It took me out of the story a bit; however, this is not a fault of RAT but rather the original playwriter.

The dynamics of the characters and themes of the play gave me serious MacBeth vibes, so if you enjoy the classic then there’s something for you in this play! The climax was the best part and kept me on edge as I awaited the conclusion to this intense tale.

The Artificial Jungle is a production I recommend to an older audience looking for a thrilling live-theatre performance that’ll get their hearts racing.

Photo Credit: Juli Fair

The Details

Dates

Evening Show Dates: 1/11, 1/12, 1/17, 1/18, 1/19, 1/24, 1/25, 1/26 @ 7:30 PM

Matinee Show Dates: 1/13, 1/20, 1/27 @ 2 PM

Tickets

Cast

  • Cory Hawkins as Chester
  • Kathy Welch as Mrs. Nurdiger
  • Debra Lynn Hull as Piranhas
  • Rachel Douglass as Roxanne
  • Caulder Tempel as Zack
  • Jake Steinman as Frankie
Kylie Masznicz
About Kylie Masznicz 41 Articles
Kylie Masznicz is a student at the University of Nevada, Reno studying English with a concentration in writing and minoring in Communication Studies. She writes culture pieces for ThisIsReno, but her work has also been featured on Broadway Baby and Brushfire Literature & Arts Journal. Her goal is to one day author a novel. She enjoys art of all forms, but chooses to express her own creativity through writing, music, and nail art. She also collects Christmas sweaters and has enough to wear one everyday from Thanksgiving to New Years.