MOXIE Theatre is ‘Peerless’

Moxie Theatre 'Peerless'

On the best of days high school can be a powder keg of ambition, manipulation, and weird kids who randomly talk to you about visions while feeding their rats in their coat pocket…ok maybe not so much of that last one.  But in MOXIE Theatre’s PEERLESS, this teenage drama is elevated to Shakespearean levels, quite literally.

PEERLESS is an adaption of MACBETH by Jiehae Park with the main thrust of the corrupting poser of ambition now centered on the college admissions process.

Twins high school girls “M” (Dana Wing Lau) and “L” (Jyl Kaneshiro) a nod to the main characters of the Scottish play, are both driven to get into “the” college, which only has one spot open from someone from their school.  This unnamed ideal college where their admittance will be made all worth it.  These Asian-American sisters are savvy and strategic enough to break themselves up into different years, so that first one of them gets in and then the other.  Their high school is in the Midwest, were their ethnicity helps them stand out, and they   think they have every angle covered.

When the nerdy “D” (Justin Lang)  gets the spot instead, this sends the sisters into a tailspin of reexamination of how this could have happened (they become convinced that it’s his disabled brother, and possible Native American heritage) and how they can erase him for the narrative.

MACBETH is a play with lots of spooky, supernatural twists and this play centers most of those on “Dirty Girl” (Jennifer Eve Thorn), who is all three witches combined into one as she tell the twins of her visions and prophesies. It’s her ramblings that convince the twins that something drastic must be done to fix this situation.

What makes this play really shine is the main pair, played by Lau and Kaneshiro.  They make these eerily focused and diabolical twins work, especially with their poetic and overlapping dialogue and their firm belief that the rise of one is the rise of the other, no matter what it takes.  These ladies take quite literally “Look like the innocent flower,But be the serpent under it,” and they use this to their advantage.

The direction by Delicia Turner Sonnenberg (and MOXIE Artistic Chief) keeps the play moving, and darkly funny and cohesive as the plots, twists, turns, and supernatural elements all interact.

This one act is a fast and furious distillation of MACBETH, with some overt references and many subtle ones.  You don’t have to be an expert in the Bard’s play to know what is going on, but it can imbue some moments with a flashback to the source material, even if those moments are but a moment on stage.

Just, whatever you do, don’t say the name of the Scottish play in the theatre…

PEERLESS is playing through October 9th at MOXIE theatre.  For showtimes and ticket information go to

Leave a Reply
Linnea Berthelse on Her ‘Stranger Things’ Audition and Keeping Her Role a Secret for a Year
“Sometimes when actors don’t get the part, it’s not always about an actor being a bad actor; it’s about connecting to the material.” – Linnea Berthelsen Stranger Things is back on our screens with its second season, something fans have been waiting for ever since season one arrived on Netflix in 2016. Returning to the […]
Jonathan Groff on Playing King George III in ‘Hamilton’: “I rehearsed for about a day, and then went into the show”
Can you even imagine stepping into a role in one of the biggest Broadway hits of all time with barely any time to prepare?
Lina Esco on Playing the Only Female Officer on ‘S.W.AT.’: “I have to portray her as someone equal to all of the guys on her team”
"The important thing for me when I read scripts is how much respect I have for the character and how far I can take her" - Lina Esco
Sam Rockwell on Typecasting and One of His Worst Auditions
"I’m kind of a workhorse. It takes a toll" - Sam Rockwell
Rachel Bloom: “The way that I learned comedy was not rigid, but this very specific technique taught by the Upright Citizens Brigade”
"I went from being a person who was doing moderately successful videos online and working as a moderately successful TV writer and aspiring to do this to having a Golden Globe." - Rachel Bloom