Review: “Edith Can Shoot Things and Hit Them” (First Floor Theater)

Edith Can Shoot Things
Edith Can Shoot Things

Show: Edith Can Shoot Things and Hit Them

Company: First Floor Theater

Venue: Flat Iron Arts Building (1579 N. Milwaukee Ave.)

Die Roll: 3

There are a great deal of children abandoned in literary history. You can’t throw a library card into the young adult section without hitting a Pippi Longstocking, Boxcar child, or any number of unsupervised kids trying to make the best of things. It’s one thing to cheer on Dickensian street urchins, and quite another when they live down the road, as Kenny and Edith do in First Floor Theater’s “Edith Can Shoot Things and Hit Them”, a window onto a fragile family recovering from loss.

Kenny (Kevin Matthew Reyes) and Edith (Aurora Adachi-Winter) are a small town brother and sister, left to their own devices by a distant father, and covering for his absence so not to draw the suspicion of nearby nosy mothers. It is teen Kenny who juggles responsibility for his twelve year old sister, their home, their constantly nearly empty bank account, and pursues his first love, an understanding soul, Benji (Luke Michael Grimes), who has the irrepressibly nervous gait of someone expecting a bully’s beat down.

Their lives are a secretive balancing act; Benji and Kenny explore their forbidden relationship with the careful precision of scientists, never letting their guard down until they are alone. Edith, who is already a master spy, marksman and military genius in her mind, dogs them at every turn. The three form a makeshift family so organically, it’s not hard to feel in on the circle, celebrating at their happiness and frightened for their worries. As with any coming-of-age, the future looms big and foreboding for each of them. How long can Kenny juggle his home, his father, his sister and his sexuality? How long before Benji’s intrusive family catches him in a lie? How long before Edith’s paranoia and propensity to lash out with her BB-gun end up hurting someone she never intended?

Author A. Rey Pamatmat has created a wonderfully rendered trio, so endearing that their lapses into dialog that can seem articulate and emotionally intelligent for small town teens, can be forgiven. Likewise, director Hutch Pimentel evokes a dark and sleepy small-town in a terrarium with his staging, and makes way for the real treasure of this production: Actors Reyes, Adachi-Winter and Grimes.

TEN WORD SUMMARY: Brother and sister, cobbling a family together from broken pieces.

RATING: d12- “Heckuva Good Show”