Smoke OFF-BROADWAY REVIEWS

Photo: Hunter Canning
  • NY TIMES

  • S & C

  • NEW YORK THEATER

  • THEATRE IS EASY

  • THEATER PIZZAZZ

Opening Night:
September 8, 2014
Closing:
September 28, 2014

Theater: The Flea Theater / 41 White Street, New York, NY, 10013

Synopsis: 

Newcomer Kim Davies’ BDSM erotic power game will kick off the Flea season. Featuring The Bats, the resident acting company at The Flea, and directed by Flea Resident Director Tom Costello, Smoke brings an entitled college student and a jaded wannabe artist – with more in common than they thought – past the verge.

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  • NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW OF Smoke

    Pair of Partygoers Turn Up the Heat in the Kitchen Kim Davies’s ‘Smoke’ Explores Power and Desire

    Anita Gates

    September 8, 2014: Suddenly, the sexual power games in David Ives’s Venus in Fur seem distant, almost artificial. Instead of the arrogant director and the auditioning actress of Venus, Kim Davies’s Smoke gives us two self-possessed contemporary young New Yorkers in a kitchen at an uptown sex party. John (Stephen Stout), an old hand at these gatherings, is a would-be artist, still interning at 31; Julie (Madeleine Bundy) is a 20-year-old college student with dropout plans. “I think I’m going to try to do as little as possible with my life,” she announces. This may be her first party. Both plays involve a man and a woman alone in a room, grappling with the overwhelming question of power — who holds it, and how it will be used — in an arena of escalating sexual tension. The premise of the intense, provocative and exceedingly clever Smoke, having its world premiere in the Flea Theater’s intimate basement space, could put off anyone who finds sadomasochism, bondage and discipline rather curious hobbies. It shouldn’t. The Flea’s description of the production is misleading: “nudity” (not really) and “sexual situations” (please, the whole 75 minutes is a sexual situation). But the plot is intriguing, the dialogue is consistently surprising, and the performances are exceptional, making a convincing argument that sex is exactly like every other kind of human interaction.

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  • STAGE AND CINEMA REVIEW OF Smoke

    Off-Off-Broadway Theater Review: SMOKE (The Bats at The Flea Theatre) - See more at: http://www.stageandcinema.com/2014/09/07/smoke-the-flea/#sthash.VeGIWSZ0.dpuf

    Dmitry Zvonkov

    September 7, 2014: The premise of Kim Davies’ new play Smoke, that two strangers, a young man and woman, who independently come to the kitchen to have a cigarette while a friendly S&M sex party is taking place in the rest of the apartment, and who wind up having a meaningful interaction, is like a minefield with potential disaster looming over every step. Pretentiousness, sensationalism, coyness, and a fundamental lack of insight so often plagues works of this kind that finding one that’s actually worthwhile seems almost hopeless. Which is one reason Ms. Davies’ creation is so remarkable. Its naturalistic elegance and simplicity, its admirable exclusion of oratory that tries to inject sexual fetishes with spiritual significance, its focus on the immediate realities of the characters, its overall sophistication concerning human interactions in the context of their sexual adventures, and its tightness make this a superior and, in its way, flawless work. But all that said, the true standouts in this amazing show are the director, Tom Costello, and his two actors, Madeleine Bundy and Stephen Stout.

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  • NEW YORK THEATER REVIEW OF Smoke

    Smoke Review: A Play At The Flea About SM

    Jonathan Mandell

    September 9, 2014: John and Julie meet in the kitchen of what we eventually learn is a private sm sex party in Manhattan; he turns out to be an intern for her Dad, who’s a famous artist. He’s 31, she’s 20. She discovers he has a case of knives in his backpack — and that he uses them in sex play. But what we eventually discover about Smoke, a play at the Flea Theater by Kim Davies directed by Tom Costello, starring Madeline Bundy and Stephen Stout, is that the sm must stand for “slow-moving.” The 90-minute play is a sort of a poor man’s “Venus in Fur” – sadomasochism between a man and a woman as a stand-in for the interplay of power and desire in relationships – without the literary allusions or intriguing twists.

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  • THEATRE IS EASY REVIEW OF Smoke

    Smoke By Kim Davies

    Adrienne Urbanski

    September 7, 2014: With the mainstream success of the sadomasochistic erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey (soon to be followed the subsequent film) the shock value garnered by exploring BDSM has been somewhat lessened. Thankfully, The Flea’s new show Smoke, takes this theme to a darker place, finding areas that are still capable of eliciting (perhaps) shock and surprise in an audience. Smoke looks to explore this salacious topic while also alluding to how these submissive and dominant roles are played out outside of the bedroom and in everyday life. The play begins when 20-year old college student Julie (Madeleine Bundy) runs into 31-year old John (Stephen Stout) in the kitchen at a house party. While Julie recognizes John immediately he cannot quite place where he knows her face from. She finally reveals to John that she is in fact the daughter of the pretentious photographer he interns for. She tells John that she will not tell her father that she saw him at this party, and later playfully threatens that she will. We are left wondering what the big deal about being seen at a party would be until we learn that this is not in fact a normal party. Rather, this happens to be a sadomasochistic sex party where attendees seek out new partners to play with and act out “scenes.” From the get-go Julie projects a calculated image of helplessness and submission, shown to the audience when she feigns an inability to use John’s lighter to light her cigarette and a dramatic fear of the lighter’s small flame. Her knee-high socks and Lolita-esque schoolgirl skirt all seem to project an image of a young girl looking for trouble.

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  • THEATER PIZZAZZ REVIEW OF Smoke

    Whisps and Whips: Smoke

    JK Clarke

    September 9, 2014: It generally holds true that the best part of a party takes place in the kitchen. For some reason, people get side-tracked by good, genuine conversation when they stop in to refresh their drink, and often spend the rest of the night there, wrapped up in unpretentious talk. That certainly seems to be the case in Smoke, though it’s likely the rest of the party was pretty darned interesting as well. Smoke (playing at The Flea through September 28) is a very compelling two-hander in which Julie (Madeleine Bundy) comes across John (Stephen Stout) in the kitchen, where he’s sneaking a smoke, an ironically verboten activity at a party which would otherwise appear to be without limitations. These two young, attractive hipsters are at a private BDSM party in a Harlem tenement. For the uninitiated, BDSM refers to “Bondage, Domination and Sado-Masochism,” and the party caters strictly to dedicated practitioners of the kink; we hear tell of activities in other rooms that range from the mild (spanking) to the extreme (blood and piercing play). This is neither a party for amateurs nor the faint of heart. Julie, however, is something of a novice, but being an attractive, sexy young submissive woman, she is a welcomed newcomer. What’s more, it turns out her father is a famous avant-garde photographer and artist . . . as well as John’s boss.

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