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Killer Joe Knocking Critics Dead

14 June 2009

Austin Chronicle

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“Kenneth Wayne Bradley shows all of that badass behavior from Stetson to boot tips yet also exhibits softness when he meets Dottie, even a sense of vulnerability. Killer Joe’s character brings a potent concoction of homespun tenderness and unadulterated violence.”

“The content of this play can be difficult to watch at times, but Pickell’s direction nevertheless creates several magical moments. Killer Joe’s cast certainly does its part to create that magic, too…You can’t ignore Killer Joe, and you shouldn’t miss the show that bears his name, either.”

Daily Texan

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“To be invited into the living room of these awful and idiotic people is to venture into the darkest, most perverse recesses of human nature. For all of the brazen images in the play, there is also beauty to be found here.”

“Bradley’s portrayal of Joe Cooper is a pleasure to watch. He artfully manages Joe’s most violent, sadistic tendencies with his most sensitive ones. Recalde portrays Dotty with a kind of humility that accentuates the strange ambiguity of her character. But underneath her childlike exterior is a sensuality that blossoms onstage.  Joe Reynolds gives Ansel a down-home stupidity that is fun to watch and DuBuys adds great vitality to the kitschy Sharla (she also proves to be a master at stage combat). Hood skillfully taps into Chris ineptitude, as well as the tragic circularity of his poor decisions.”

Austin American-Statesman


“The company, led by director Mark Pickell, never shies from any of playwright Tracy Letts’ deeply unsettling writing.  Nuanced,convincing performances from the cast and clear directing choices don’t allow the play’s comedy to overwhelm the gravity of its violence.”

“Ansel’s [Joe Reynolds] inability to do anything right is reiterated with humor and detail…DeBuys manages to convey subtext through only screams in the play’s most violent scenes, shifting from horror and fear to self-absorption.”


Read the full Austinist Review

Killer Joe is excellently produced, astonishingly acted, and impeccably directed. DeBuys’ shrieking and conniving and ultimate victimization are sickeningly believable. Reynolds making his Austin debut is a highly welcome addition to this city’s stages. Recalde has a tough, taut rope to balance as the semi-daft Dottie, which she manages with grace. Hood, last seen in HPT’s Bombs in Your Mouth, is great as the bumbler with the sure-to-fail get-rich-quick-scheme. And Bradley is so believable as a sociopath in this role that he risks future typecasting, he is, as Joe, utterly bu-bu-bu-bad to the boner.

The set, co-designed by Mark Pickell and Tommy Grubbs, is nothing short of spectacular in its authentic, exquisite disgustingness.

It’s like somebody took MacBeth, All in the Family, and Sylvia Plath, tossed them in a blender, and splattered them inside a beat-to-fuck trailer out in Dallas County.

Out and About: Austin360

Read the OUT AND ABOUT review by Michael Barnes

See Killer Joe.The Tracy Letts trailer-trash comedy clicks, sparks and sizzles. Director Mark Pickell synthesizes his ensemble down to the tiniest nuance. How to pick a stand-out among Ken Bradley, Joey Hood, Joe Reynolds, Katie DeBuys and Melissa Recalde, who don’t miss a quarter note?

It’s a flawless production brought to a thrillingly bloody conclusion

Austin Theatre Review

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KILLER JOE takes you on a tumultuous thrill ride through the under belly of one of Americas most stereo typed settings and delivers everything from hysterical punch lines to emotionally crippling fight scenes. Some might say that this show is not for everyone, but I disagree, this show is for anyone who believes everyone deserves a chance at love, even from the depths of the trailer park.”

Austin On Stage

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Kenneth Wayne Bradley as the title character is a phenomenal power-house – a convincing mix of Texas good old boy and cold-blooded criminal.  You always feel that he is one step ahead of the plot line, which keeps the audience off balance whenever he graces the stage

Killer Joe is a one hell of a killer ride!