Thursday, August 31, 2017

59 (2017-2018): Review: CHAROLAIS (seen August 30, 2017)

“No Udder Love”

Charolais, Irish writer-actress Noni Stapleton’s one-woman black comedy now at 59E59’s tiny Theater C, begins with a grim image: the beefy Stapleton herself standing behind a small table in a blood-smeared butcher’s apron (costumes by Miriam Duffy) and rubber boots with a large, bloody knife in hand, her huge belly indicating a new life on its way. Her words, though, which allude to Temple Grandin without naming her, talk of a relatively benign way of killing animals. Thus begins this darkly comic, 65-minute monologue of sex, jealousy, childbirth, and death amidst the human and bovine residents of a hardscrabble Irish farm. 

Noni Stapleton. Photo: Hunter Canning.
Charolais, in case you’re wondering, is an important breed of cattle originating in France, and Jimmy and his ma, Breda, have one on their farm. The not-too-bright, Siobhan, a “townie,” has been employed by Jimmy to register his cattle as part of a course she’s taking. But she’s got a thing for country hunks and, quickly enough, she lusts for, sleeps with, and gets pregnant by Jimmy. However, she has two big obstacles to overcome: one is Jimmy’s widowed, gammy-eyed, nasty-mouthed mother, from whom the affair is hidden; the other’s an artificially inseminated, pregnant Charolais cow she calls by that name and, even while thinking to name her baby Charolais, becomes intensely jealous because Jimmy seems to love it more than he does her.
Noni Stapleton. Photo: Hunter Canning.
Siobhan’s profanely salted narrative recounts the details of her sexual/romantic relationship with Jimmy (which began when she came across him “leanin against a bail [sic] having a wank” and telling him, “I’ll do that for ya if you want”). She reveals the tensions between her and Jimmy’s demanding, disapproving mother, especially regarding the forthcoming blessed event, reveals the seriousness of cattle-related disease to struggling farmers, and describes the variously clever homicidal ways she contemplates to resolve her personal issues before a gory tragicomic conclusion handles the matter for her.
Noni Stapleton. Photo: Hunter Canning.
Meanwhile, the story is occasionally interrupted by whimsically offbeat (too much so, for my taste) scenes that begin with Siobhan removing her ponytail band and letting her blond hair flop free from side to side, giving her a slight resemblance to a zaftig Meryl Streep. She then switches to livestock mode, moo-ving about and speaking in the caricaturish, smoky-voiced accent of a sensual French chanteuse and singing snatches of “La Vie en Rose” as she fantasizes about bullish amour.
Noni Stapleton. Photo: Hunter Canning.
A few pieces of furniture within the black box space are sufficient unto Charolais’s needs, with nicely varied lighting by Tara Doolan and barnyard sound design by Jack Cawley.  Produced by the Irish touring company Fishamble and well-directed by Bairbre Ní Chaiomh, this award-winning, widely-toured play stands out mainly for Stapleton’s striking performance as she navigates the humorous and serious peaks and valleys of this rural terrain, a place where everyone speaks in such bog-thick accents you can literally see the mud dripping off their vowels. Stapleton, addressing the audience directly, remains completely invested in her dramatic world, able to shift effortlessly between honest sadness, playful horror, and erotic desire, heaving her heifer’s heftiness about with polished grace.
 
Charolais is minor writing, more hamburger than steak, but Stapleton’s acting puts it on an udder level entirely.

OTHER VIEWPOINTS:
Show-Score.com

Charolais
59E59 Theaters
59 E. 59th St., NYC
Through September 24






Saturday, August 26, 2017

57 (2017-2018): Review: PRINCE OF BROADWAY (seen August 25, 2017)

“A Helluva Grand Time!”

“I’m having a helluva grand time!,” says legendary Broadway producer Harold (Hal) Prince at the end of his biographical program note for Prince of Broadway, the Manhattan Theatre Club’s dazzling new musical revue surveying the crème de la crème of Prince’s amazingly successful career. And “a helluva grand time” is just what most theatergoers are going to experience at this abundantly well-stocked arrangement of top-flight numbers from classic shows that 21-time Tony winner Prince either produced or directed (or both), beginning with The Pajama Game in 1954.

 Michael Xavier in Company. Photo: Matthew Murphy.

Although we hear only a fragment from that show’s “Hey There,” we get full versions of 36 numbers from 16 other shows, plus a rousing company finale called “Do the Work,” added for the occasion by Jason Robert Brown, who’s also responsible for the thrilling new arrangements, orchestrations, and musical supervision.
Karen Ziemba, Emily Skinner, Chuck Cooper, Tony Yazbek in Follies. Photo: Matthew Murphy.
Conceptually, the show makes no breakthroughs in the jukebox musical tradition. In practice, it’s little more than a sequence of famous (and a few not so famous) numbers, many, but not all, introduced by one of the company’s ultra-talented nine members (four men and five women), representing Prince himself. They dress differently but always in black, and either sport Prince’s trademark horn-rimmed glasses on their foreheads or hold them in their hands as they provide biographical snippets (written by David Thompson) related to the various shows. Don’t expect these sketchy tidbits, though, to offer any significant insights.
Tony Yazbek, Kaley Van Voorhees. Photo: Matthew Murphy.
It’s also too bad that some shows lack any commentary at all; unless you’re a Broadway fanboy or fangirl, whatever information the script provides is largely irrelevant in helping you understand the context for most of the songs. Thus when Brandon Uranowitz and Bryonha Marie Parham sing (very well) a pair of songs from She Loves Me, if you don’t know the story, you may not get what the plot- and character-related lyrics are saying.

To give us an idea of the range of Prince’s musicals, a projection of one title logo after the other (created by set designer Beowulf Borritt) flies toward the audience, announcing 31 hits and flops. This is the theatrical giant who in one capacity or another helped birth the following productions, listed here in the same non-chronological order projected in the show. Asterisks indicate those represented in Prince of Broadway, the number of their songs performed given in parentheses:

The Pajama Game* (1: two lines),
West Side Story* (2)
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum
Baker Street
Damn Yankees* (1)
Tenderloin
Fiorello!
Flora, the Red Menace
LoveMusik
New Girl in Town
She Loves Me* (2)
A Family Affair
On the Twentieth Century
“It’s a Bird . . . , It’s a Plane . . . , It’s Superman”* (1)
Zorba
A Doll’s Life
Company* (3)
Pacific Overtures
Follies* (3)
Cabaret* (4)
A Little Night Music* (3)
Grind
Candide
Evita* (3)
Roza
Sweeney Todd* (3)
Merrily We Roll Along
Kiss of the Spiderwoman* (2)
Parade (1)
Fiddler on the Roof* (1)
Show Boat (in revival)* (2)
   
And, of course, there’s Prince of Broadway itself.         
Tony Yazbek in Follies. Photo: Matthew Murphy.
To be sure, Prince didn’t write, compose, or choreograph these shows. His contributions were principally as producer and, most significantly, director, which makes the idea of a revue dedicated to his work considerably different from similar shows focused on the contributions of writers (lyricists, actually), composers, or choreographers. And, while shows about the dances of Bob Fosse and Jerome Robbins, for example, recreated those choreographers’ achievements, Prince of Broadway doesn’t really do the same for Prince’s work, which depends often on trimmed-down versions. Thus this show dedicated to one of most important geniuses in musical theatre history isn’t actually so much about his directorial choices but about the shows his imagination helped bring into the world with the assistance of a vast array of other talents, many of whom he acknowledges in his program notes.           
Emily Skinner in Follies. Photo: Matthew Murphy.
Borritt’s set, a bare, black-bricked background with theatrical ropes and pulleys at either side, accommodates a sequence of simplified but still substantial scenic units or backdrops. Howell Binkley’s lighting does wonders, wig master Paul Huntley has outdone himself, and costume virtuoso William Ivey Long has matched him in the array of costumes he’s perfectly recreated or reimagined from these fabled shows.
Brandon Uranowitz in Cabaret. Photo: Matthew Murphy.
During the finale, Karen Ziemba, herself one of Broadway’s best, declares that if you’re going to succeed in the theatre you should always “work with the best—that doesn’t mean the most famous—but the best.” Those words apply perfectly to Prince of Broadway’s ensemble, some of them better known than others, but all of them representative of Broadway’s finest musical performers.
Bryohna Marie Parham, Emily Skinner. Photo: Matthew Murphy. 
Most are known principally as singers but watching their graceful body language when they sing is like seeing the lyrics and their emotional underpinnings dancing before your eyes. Despite Stroman’s choreographic gifts, actual dancing—as opposed to dance-like movement—is in short supply; however, when the remarkable Tony Yazbek, who sings as beautifully as any leading man (listen to his “Tonight” from West Side Story, for example), dances to “The Right Girl” from Follies, you get an evening’s worth of tapping terpsichore wrapped up in a single unforgettable routine.
Chuck Cooper. Photo: Matthew Murphy.
There are so many tour de force performances it’s impossible to say which are the most memorable. Should I mention Janet Dacal and Michael Xavier’s comic cavorting as Clark Kent and Sydney doing “You’ve Got Possibilities” from It’s a Bird . . . ? Dacal’s powerhouse “Don’t Cry for Me, Argentina” from Evita? Emily Skinner’s quietly poignant “Send in the Clowns” from A Little Night Music or her cuttingly ironic “The Ladies Who Lunch” from Company? Bryonha Marie Parham’s raising goose bumps as Sally Bowles singing “Cabaret”? Chuck Cooper’s gloriously playful Tevye doing “If I Were a Rich Man” from Fiddler on the Roof? Karen Ziemba’s stomach-churningly funny “The Worst Pies in London” from Sweeney Todd? Kaley Ann Voorhees and Michael Xavier’s lyrically soaring duets from Phantom of the Opera?

Only time will tell if Hal Prince will remain creatively active as long as his fabled mentor, George Abbott, who continued to direct past his 100th birthday. If Prince of Broadway is any indication, one can only hope he manages to do so. And that he, like us, will continue to have “a helluva grand time” whenever he does.

OTHER VIEWPOINTS:

Samuel J. Friedman Theatre
261 W. 47th St., NYC
Through October 22


Thursday, August 17, 2017

55 (2017-2018): Review: VAN GOGH'S EAR (seen August 16, 2017)

“The Power to Create”

In the pantheon of famous ears—think, for example, Clark Gable, Mr. Spock, and Dumbo the Elephant—none are as notorious as the one that the mentally unstable Dutch artist Vincent Van Gogh, in 1888, partially self-amputated in a fit of madness. The event (whose generally accepted circumstances were disputed in a 2009 book) figures briefly in Van Gogh’s Ear, an artsy concert-cum-art exhibition-cum-drama by pianist Eve Wolf, executive artistic director of Ensemble for a Romantic Century.
Carter Hudson. Photo: Shirin Tinati.
Wolf’s bio notes that ERC was founded by her in 2001 “with the mission of creating an innovative and dramatic concert format in which the emotions revealed in memoirs, letters, diaries, and literature are dramatically interwoven with music, thus bringing to life the sensations and passions of a bygone era.” This perfectly explains what she, director Donald Sanders, set and costume designer Vanessa James, lighting designer Beverly Emmons, and projection designer David Bengali are after in Van Gogh’s Ear. The results, however, are mixed.

Although musically marvelous and visually vibrant, Van Gogh’s Ear is dramatically dull. This might have be expected from a work whose spoken text is little more than a handful of the more than 650 letters written by van Gogh from Arles, in southern France, to his brother, Theo, a Paris art dealer. Without Theo’s financial support and encouragement, Vincent, who killed himself at 37, would have been lost much earlier.

Van Gogh’s Ear is inspired by the concept of synesthesia, which is both a neurological condition and an aesthetic theory in which, simply stated, one hears music in terms of colors; according to musicologist James Melo’s helpful program note, it’s possible that van Gogh was himself a synesthete. This allows us to view the eponymous ear as a metaphor.

To establish the connection between music and painting, Van Gogh’s Ear creates a multimedia experience on a stage that pictures a corner of van Gogh’s room at Arles at stage left, a neutral central space where an ensemble of musicians (piano and strings) sits, and, at stage right, Theo’s home; the latter is represented by a fireplace over whose mantel is a large frame in which various van Gogh paintings are digitally projected throughout the show’s overlong two hours.
Carter Hudson. Photo: Shirin Tinati.
The artist’s paintings are also projected on a canvas sitting near his Arles room, on the rear wall, and on three vertical pillars that continue along the floor as intersecting runners. A multitude of van Gogh images continues changing as the narrative progresses. Each letter is enacted by the bearded young actor Carter Hudson only to be followed by extended musical interludes selected from the music of contemporaneous composers, mostly Claude Debussy and Gabriel Fauré, with a smaller number from Ernest Chausson and César Franck.

The superb musicians are Henry Wang (violin), Yuval Herz (violin), Chieh-Fan Yiu (viola), Timotheos Petrin (cello), Max Barros (piano), and Renana Gutman (piano). For some reason, the men are dressed in white caftans and fez-like caps, suggesting Middle-Eastern Muslims; the best reason I could come up with is that they somehow allude to the Zouaves van Gogh encountered in Arles. In his paintings of them some wear similar caps but never caftans.
Carter Hudson, Renée Tatum. Photo: Shirin Tinati.
As Van Gogh speaks, we see other persons standing by silently relating to what’s being said. Most often it’s Theo (Chad Johnson), wearing a white linen suit, striking a variety of noble attitudes. Another is a buxom wench in 19th-century undergarments, Gabrielle Berlatier (Renée Tatum), the brothel maid (not prostitute, as played here) to whom van Gogh presented his ear (her identity was revealed only last year), and a third is the matronly Johanna van Gogh-Bonger (also Tatum), the woman Theo married. The only other speaking actor is Vincent’s physician, Dr. Peyron (Kevin Spirtas), who appears briefly as something of a dandy.

Theo, Gabrielle, and Johanna may not speak but they certainly do sing, gloriously, since Johnson and Tatum are both gifted opera artists. They perform art songs by Debussy, Fauré, and Chausson from the Romantic genre called mélodie, similar to German Lied, their French words projected in English subtitles over the fireplace. The densely lyrical poetry, filled with images of nature, contributes nothing to the narrative, serving principally as aesthetic reinforcement to the mood. If you find it bothersome to read the lyrics while also trying to watch and listen to the performers I recommend ignoring them and concentrating on the latter.
Chad Johnson, Carter Hudson. Photo: Shirin Tinati.
Van Gogh’s letters are preoccupied with concerns about his art—colors, stars, images he imagined, and technique—as well as with his personal well-being: his health, teeth, diet, mental illness, poverty, loneliness, unhappiness, intimations of suicide, and even his name (which the locals couldn’t pronounce properly). He’s grateful for Theo’s help and is happy Theo named his new son after him.
Carter Hudson. Shirin Tinati.
Without our hearing any response from anyone else, though, we see little more than the artist’s suffering before he blows his brains out (offstage). Perhaps a more powerful performance by Carter Hudson might have made van Gogh’s suffering theatrically palpable enough to overcome the script’s dramatic inertia. But his blandly uninteresting portrayal only demonstrates the danger lurking in Wolf’s conception: if you’re seeking to capture the spirit of so vigorous a personality as Vincent van Gogh’s, then you need more than beautiful music and gorgeous projections on your palette; you need an actor who brings comparable colors to the canvas, someone you can fully believe in when he says he cannot do without “the power to create,” someone with, dare I say it, a lust for life. Too bad a young Kirk Douglas isn’t available.

OTHER VIEWPOINTS

Pershing Square Signature Center
480 W. 42nd St., NYC
Through September 10












Sunday, August 6, 2017

52 (2017-2018): Review: A REAL BOY (seen August 4, 2017)

“Max Has Two Puppets”

Ever since the success of Leslie Newman’s 1989 children’s book Heather Has Two Mommies, the “two mommies” and “two daddies” trope has become a common feature of politically correct discussions regarding children being raised by parents with unconventional sexual orientations. Although he doesn’t mention such antecedents, playwright Stephen Kaplan has noted that his play, A Real Boy, was inspired by his experiences as a gay dad wondering whether the non-gay world would blame him and his partner if their child turned out gay.

 
Jenn Remke, Alexander Bello. Photo: Heidi Bohnenkamp.
Rather than look at the issue realistically, Kaplan dramatizes it through the metaphor of a five-year-old boy, Max (eight-year-old Alexander Bello, sweet but inaudible), who has been adopted by puppets. Max, a student in the kindergarten class of devoted teacher Miss Terry (Jenn Remke, convincingly sincere in an unconvincing role), begins to show signs of being different from his classmates when he insists on coloring his pictures in black and white instead of other colors. Disturbed, Terry arranges a conference with Max’s parents, represented by puppets depicted as “a typical, suburban, white family.”

Further complicating the play’s identity issues is that the black-garbed actors (unlike one of the accompanying photos) manipulating the one-third human size puppets are African American. Brian Michael plays Peter Myers, Max’s argumentative dad, and Jason Allan Kennedy George is Mary Ann, the boy’s reticent, sympathetic, and ambivalent mom. And, while I don’t know anything about George’s personal life, he gives the mother a transsexual twist, obviously in keeping with Kaplan’s requirement that the parents be “non-traditional.”
Jamie Geiger, Jenn Remke. Photo: Heidi Bohnenkamp.
All this trouble is taken to dramatize a situation that evolves when the parents take issue with Terry’s concerns. A major conflict erupts in which Principal Klaus (Jamie Geiger, appropriately flustered) gets involved, with the parents demanding that Max be moved to another class. Things get even more bizarre when Max starts growing strings, implying he’s becoming a puppet himself. (And yes, there’s a Pinocchio-related subplot as well.) Feeling the need to protect him, Terry takes Max hostage, keeping his parents at bay by using the classroom as a sanctuary.

Soon we have a battle royale between the parents and the educational system, with arguments swirling around issues of parental versus educators’ responsibility for the raising of children. Brought in to supplement the debate are two broadly pompous caricatures; one is a fancy lawyer named Jilly Lambert (Katie Braden), with an infant strapped to her chest, fighting to reclaim the “kidnapped” child; the other is a vociferous congresswoman (or, as she prefers, “congressperson”), Rebecca Landel (Danie Steel), supporting the teacher as someone representing “the backbone of our nation.”

Each seems more interested in exploiting the situation for their own aggrandizement than for what they claim to be advocating, a development that takes this already weird play into even more confusing waters. Director Audrey Alford allows them—especially the congressperson—to go over-the-top and the actresses are up to the task.
Jason Alan Kennedy George, Jamie Geiger. Photo: Heidi Bohnenkamp.
Despite the presence of puppets and their handlers as principal characters, this really isn’t a puppet play; moreover, the puppets themselves (created by Puppet Kitchen Productions, Inc.), for all their articulation, are extremely klutzy. And, while Michael and George, the otherwise fine actors controlling them, speak their lines effectively, they aren’t particularly adept puppeteers.It doesn't take long before you forget the awkward puppets and focus on their handlers instead.

Working in the production’s cramped confines, they struggle to stay out of each other’s way without tangling their strings, a problem that becomes especially obvious when they perform in the constricted space at one side representing the Myers’s home, with its miniature table and appliances. Add another actor to these scenes and it’s like being on the Lexington Express at 6:00 p.m.
Brian Michael. Photo: Heidi Bohnenkamp.
The rest of Ann Beyersdorfer’s set, with the audience sitting on two sides of it, represents a kindergarten classroom. My companion, however, a kindergarten and pre-K teacher for over 30 years, says kindergarten classrooms no longer look like this one, which more closely resembles pre-K.

Nevertheless, this is the least of A Real Boy’s problems. Those begin with an hour-and-50-minute, jumbled, overwritten script that clouds whatever issues it’s trying to address with so many fantastical and thinly satiric distractions that you’re never quite sure just what it wants to say, which arguments you should favor, or just what those arguments are.

OTHER VIEWPOINTS:

59E59 Theaters/Theater C
59 E. 59th St., NYC
Through August 27











51 (2017-2018): Review: SUMMER SHORTS 2017: SERIES B (seen August 3, 2017)

“Games People Play”


Series B, the second installment in 59E59’s annual summer season of short plays proves, overall, to be the weaker of the two one-act programs; on the other hand, in Neil LaBute’s “Break Point,” it contains the best play in either series.

The same neutral unit set used in Series A serves just as well for Series B. Designed by Rebecca Lord-Surratt, and creatively lit by Greg Macpherson, it’s little more than an attractive three-wall background of translucent, wood-trimmed, sliding panels; with selective furnishings, it conjures up a pastor’s office, a living room, and what the playwright calls “a lawn” but, with its two low benches, could be anywhere the audience imagines.

As in Series A, the plays, whose running time totals 90 intermissionless minutes, have only the most tenuous of links. My review for Series A tied the plays together under the rubric, “Death, God, and the Sexes.” Here I’m going with “Games People Play” because in each piece one side is trying to manipulate the other in order to reach a desired goal. In the LaBute piece, the transaction involves an actual game, tennis.
Jennifer Ikeda, Mark Boyett. Photo: Carol Rosegg.
Chris Cragin-Day’s two-hander, “A Woman,” opens the bill, with an attractive woman, Kim (Jennifer Ikeda), meeting with Cliff (Mark Boyett), the relatively youthful new pastor of her Presbyterian congregation. Kim, married and a mother, has been summoned because when asked to nominate someone as a church elder she submitted “a woman.”

This leads to a friendly debate in which Cliff explains why it’s impossible under the existing church rules for a woman to hold this position. Kim, a pious Christian who’s made the same request every year for a decade, responds with standard feminist arguments. The pastor scores a point when he says her request might go further if she were to name an actual person; you don’t need a crystal ball to predict the game’s outcome.
Jennifer Ikeda, Mark Boyett. Photo: Carol Rosegg.
Cliff and Kim appear to once have had a flirtation, so their banter is casual enough to include off-color language one might not expect to hear in a pastor’s office. Other than that, “A Woman” is mild stuff, the issues are treated superficially, there are a few gentle laughs, the acting—under the direction of Kel Haney—is low-keyed and polite, and you begin hoping for a bigger score in the second play.

That one, “Wedding Bash,” by Lindsey Kraft and Andrew Leeds,” takes comic pot shots at the growing popularity of destination weddings. Those, of course, are the ones requiring invitees to pay their own fare to and accommodations at some out of the way location; as suggested here, with tongue deeply in cheek (one hopes), they may even have to cough up six bucks for a burrito from the “burrito truck.”  
Andy Powers, Donovan Mitchell, Rachel Napoleon, Georgia Ximenes Lifsher. Photo: Carol Rosegg. 
Newlyweds Lonny (Donovan Mitchell) and Donna (Rachel Napoleon) think their recent destination wedding in Sedona, CA, was the best ever (“I mean, those rocks!”) and are hungry for raves about it. When friends Alan (Andy Powers) and the very pregnant Edi (Georgia Ximenes Lifsher) pay a post-Sedona visit to Lonny and Donna’s home, they quickly realize they share a completely opposite opinion about the nuptials, from the money it cost them, to the hotel, alcoholic provisions, and so on. What they feel, of course, slips out, with the expected results, and Alan, who’s particularly disturbed by his $1,300 outlay, finds a way to tally a payback victory.
Donovan Mitchell, Rachel Napoleon, Georgia Ximenes Lifsher. Photo: Carol Rosegg.
(Question: There’s a notable bit where Alan brags about how his hair is so thick because of steroid injections. Yet the actor’s hair is very thin. Since Alan is otherwise not particularly obtuse, are we supposed to laugh at what we might perceive as his vanity or is the actor simply [in this regard] miscast?)

Like Series A’s “Playing God,” “Wedding Bash” is precisely the kind of stuff “SNL” revels in, from its clichéd jokes about undesirable wedding gifts to its bashing of the wedding to its detour into farce. J.J. Kandel’s direction squeezes the moderately comedic cast for a few good yocks but this is essentially a throwaway sketch that puts the pressure on the third and final piece to put some numbers on the board.
John Garrett Greer, Keilyn Durrel Jones. Photo: Carol Rosegg.
Happily, it does just that in Neil LaBute’s “Break Point,” a piece of classic LaBute cynicism satirizing male competitive ambition in the persons of two tennis champions, one of them among the world’s greatest, the other talented but far less noteworthy or wealthy. LaBute, who also directed, calls them Stan (Keilyn Durrel Jones) and Oliver (John Garrett Greer), but don’t expect Laurel and Hardy.
John Garrett Greer, Keilyn Durrel Jones. Photo: Carol Rosegg.
Oliver, a star who’s won 19 majors and has a humongous bank account to show for it, wants Stan, whom he’s known since they were kids at tennis camp and against whom he’s about to compete in the French Opens, to throw the match. Desperate for the “big round number” of 20 wins, and unsure if he can beat Stan, Oliver uses all his offensive (in both senses of the word) wiles to convince Stan to accept a substantial payoff for tanking; Stan puts his crafty game face on to suss out his rival’s weaknesses.

The ethical and psychological issues underlying the sharply authentic-sounding comic dialogue are volleyed with verbal backhand smashes and biting underhand serves, especially as performed with expert timing by Greer and Jones. The former precisely captures Oliver’s nervous desperation, while Jones offers a perfect counterbalance in the subtleties of Stan’s responses.
Keilyn Durrel Jones. Photo: Carol Rosegg.

The press script, by the way, contains a delightfully ironic curtain speech by Stan that’s been cut from the performance, perhaps because it was deemed to be gilding the lily. The play does well enough without it but that speech had its points.


This referee scores 55 for “A Woman”; 55 for “Wedding Bash”; 90 for “Break Point. 


OTHER VIEWPOINTS:



59E59 Theaters/Theater B

59 E. 59 St., NYC

Through September 2