But what about the dog?

The Best Brothers

“Mom always liked you best.”

“Mom always liked you best.”

Photo courtesy of B Street Theatre

The Best Brothers; 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday; 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday; 6:30 p.m. Tuesday; 2 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Wednesday; $23-$35. B Street Theatre, 2711 B Street; (916) 443-5300; www.bstreettheatre.org. Through September 13.
Rated 2.0

B Street Theatre’s The Best Brothers is a mystery. Though billed as a comedy, the mystery is why B Street picked this contrived, poorly written story of two brothers, their recently deceased mother, and her surviving dog which supposedly brings them all together. At the end, the only one you really care about is the dog.

Part of the problem is the play itself. In The Best Brothers, the age-old story of sibling rivalry is supposedly played for laughs, though most the situations, humor and dialogue feels forced. You have the two adult brothers Kyle (Will Springhorn Jr.) and Hamilton (Christian Martin) who come together after a tragic, and as strangely portrayed, humorous death of their mother at a gay rights parade. One brother is flaky, the other more responsible. One was mom’s favorite, the other not so much.

In addition to portraying the brothers during obit writing and eulogy delivery, both actors depict their mother at different times as she addresses the audience to give her backstory. The intent is to give us a glimpse of this eccentric woman, though mostly it’s just a litany of her lovers. Oh, and the two actors also briefly portray the mom’s dog through doggie dialogue—though the dog has an invisible cameo and very small part, not a heavy presence as portrayed by the play’s description or marketing materials.

The other part of the problem is the production. On opening night, the actors seemed to struggle with both their portrayals and their lines, making it feel more like a dress rehearsal than a finished product. That may be one of the reasons that the storyline and dialogue didn’t seem to gel or resonate. The stiltedness of the play may smooth out as the actors, both new to B Street, and production goes through the run—however, the two actors are still stuck with a strangely unfunny play billed as a hilarious and heartfelt comedy.