Review: Thinner Than Water at Big Idea Theatre

Unresolved conflict is one of the primary causes of “hanger” (hungry anger).

Unresolved conflict is one of the primary causes of “hanger” (hungry anger).

Photo courtesy of Yarcenia Garcia

Showtimes: Thu 8pm, Fri 8pm, Sat 8pm; Through 8/30; $12-$18; Big Idea Theatre, 1616 Del Paso Blvd.; (916) 960-3036;
Rated 4.0

A father’s impending death brings together a simmering stew of sibling resentments in Melissa Ross’ Thinner Than Water, now playing at Big Idea Theatre. Three half-siblings are forced to figure out their relationships with their dad, with each other and with other characters swirling about in their lives.

Right from the start, it’s clear that Dad wasn’t the best father around: Eldest daughter Renee refers to him as “a shitty human being” while youngest daughter Cassie describes him as “a cockroach on a toilet.” The familial relationship each sibling has with each other is rather tenuous, with their only common connection being their ne’er-do-well dad.

The emphasis in the first half of the play is on the dysfunctionality of the siblings, as well as their self-defined relationship roles—bitter bossy big sister Renee (Laura Kaya), middle maturity-stunted son Gary (Chris Scarberry) and forever flaky little sister Cassie (Kaley Saari). The second half fleshes out the struggles of Dad’s current wife Gwen (BJ Nash) and her relationship with Renee.

The talented cast works well together, incorporating their characters’ different personalities and approaches to life. Kaya and Nash convincingly embody their characters with help from a playwright who digs deeper in the portrayals and relationships of these two wounded souls.

All in all, Thinner Than Water is an interesting exploration of the bonds of blood, and whether they’re worth keeping if they weigh you down like a ton of bricks.