THEATER REVIEW: “Peerless” @ Barrington Stage Co. [Berkshire on Stage]
Review by Macey Levin
When Barrington Stage Company Artistic Director Julianne Boyd introduced the play Peerless by Jiehae Park at its opening performance, she said, “Park is a new voice… The rhythms of the play are different… It’s a comedy until it isn’t… It has shades of Macbeth…” She didn’t say, “It’s a terrific piece of theater!” And it certainly is.
The play centers on twin Asian sisters, seniors in high school, awaiting their college acceptances. L (the characters’ names are way off the beaten track) has applied to THE College (institution names are not used), and she is concerned that she’ll be beaten out. Her sister M (Sasha Diamond) assures her she has nothing to worry about, though L (Laura Sohn) is concerned about a nerdy classmate who may or may not be as bright as her.
The first several scenes depicting high school life are quite funny though a shadow of darkness hovers over the comic moments. A third of the way through this 85-minute play a corner is turned, and we slowly find ourselves in a contemporary/teen-age version of Macbeth. You don’t have to know the Shakespeare play, but it adds a level of intrigue to be aware of it as Peerless develops. The play, however, can stand alone.