Author: Kathleen Campion

An Infinite Ache

A wise friend tells me that a satisfying life is a series of small moments.  David Schulner’s An Infinite Ache is all of that—satisfying, and a series of small moments. At eight o’clock Saturday night, as the audience settles into the 60-seat Gallery at Access Theatre in TriBeCa, Hope (Nancy Sun) and Charles (Eric Kuehnemann) begin a relationship that spans fifty years.  After a disappointing first date these twenty-somethings find themselves in his grim studio apartment.  She is aloof, one eye on the exit.  He is both too eager to please and certain he won’t. There is a remarkable athleticism at work in David Schulner’s script.  He asks the two to struggle through the early and tentative commitments of young love, the pedestrian who-takes-out-the-garbage explosions, the unintended pregnancy, the unrealized dreams, profound loss, enormous self-deception—well, life really—in what seems a barely adequate ninety minutes.  It is at once exhausting and compelling. The script is the star here, well paced, rich in small signals.   We know she’s moved in with him watching her add thin rugs and tiny plants to Jason Lee Courson’s bare bed of a set.  We know they are aged when they bicker about his hearing-aid and toupee. Director Joshua Warr teases out subtle performances from Sun and Kuehnemann.  They are meant to age through a lifetime, endure loss, know rage and rejection, joy, and birth and death. ...

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The Weiner Monologues

Climbing four flights of stairs to get to the Access Theatre [sic!] sets the expectation bar rather high for The Weiner Monologues presented by The Factory on a short run in Tribeca.  That said, the rich material of Anthony Weiner’s colossal fumbling in the public square suggests a fun evening ahead though, one might argue, it’s hard to improve on the original script. Let’s review: Weiner is the seven-term congressman who sent pictures of his junk to women he’d not met.  He got caught.  He lied, denied, and presented himself as victim.  Then he faced up, sort of, and resigned.  Undaunted by that humiliation—in fact unabashed-–he opts to run for mayor of New York City.  Again he is caught sexting with women he doesn’t know and finishes the race in fifth place.  Well, you know the story. This material, flush with opportunity and rife with hubris, inspired John Oros and Jonathan Harper Schlieman to mold that tale into a Greek-ish tragedy.  (Weiner the ‘tragic hero’ battered by The Chorus). The two introduce the production with predictable boner jokes –  “it’s long…it’s hard…it’s uncut” – strangely winning, perhaps because these two young men are. A few columns define Norihito Moriya’s very basic stage, and a scrim holds the center, working as both a curtain and a projection screen.  Projected there we see Peter Lawford introducing Marilyn Monroe to sing Happy Birthday to JFK; we see Fred...

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La Soirée

It’s not your average night at the theater.  In fact, it’s not your average night anywhere.  La Soirée is a naughty cabaret-cum-circus with an edge of danger. When Mario, Queen of the Circus, urges audience members to pass him hand to hand above their heads, that’s one thing.  When he persuades Chrissie from Maryland, not only to join him onstage but to climb on his shoulders as he climbs on a unicycle—all this on a stage the size of a thumbtack—those in the front rows were fascinated but uneasy. The front rows are quickly sheathed in plastic as Stephen Williams lifts his exquisite body from a bath. Using bands attached to the ceiling, he spins and all but struts over the heads of the audience, spritzing us with kicks of water and droplets from his form-fitting jeans. There’s no danger when “The English Gents,” Denis Lock and Hamish McCann, tricked out in pinstripes and bowlers, take the stage—just power.  They Basil-Fawlty us into grins at first.  But quickly, as the two balance into impossible postures, the audience quiets, recognizing the strength and skill it takes to make their extravagant moves seem effortless.  It takes your breath away.   Should you have any oxygen left, you give it up when these two strip down to Union Jack skivvies.  Their bodies are stunningly beautiful. Later Hamish McCann does something with a pole I shan’t forget. But...

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New2NY

BY KATHLEEN CAMPION   New2NY is one of those rare theater brands that is accurate – these are musicals that have not yet been produced in New York. The Artistic Director of the York Theatre Company, James Morgan, who introduced the Friday night staged concert performance of JACK: A Musical Drama on the Life of John F. Kennedy, told a packed house of interested friendlies, that some people have started calling New2NY “New Tunies!” Morgan entertained a house full of theater people – subscribers, producers, actors and even one dog – in the intimate space the York inhabits at St.Peterʼs Church at the base of the Citicorp monolith. He noted that given the federal courtʼs decision to stay any changes to NYʼs “stop and frisk” policy, the York Company had reinstated its policy, so the audience should be prepared. He introduced the “orchestra,” gifted pianist Matt Castle, who must have 5 to 6 hands and enormous stamina as he played flawlessly and energetically through the two hour score. After assuring the audience that, should we need the emergency exits, they were “there and there” and that “everything would be all right” Morgan gave the stage to JACK. He noted that Castle and the twelve member cast had enjoyed a leisurely five-day rehearsal period on what is essentially an opera. Playing to the old hands in the crowd, many of...

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A Time To Kill

BY KATHLEEN CAMPION   A growing share of Broadway box office relies on the tourist trade, the clear target audience of “A Time to Kill,” Rupert Holmes’ adaptation of John Grisham’s novel. Given the now requisite standing ovation and the odd hooting that followed Wednesday night’s performance, it might be said to have hit its mark. You can almost hear the pitch: “Let’s do a Broadway show based on a blockbuster Grisham novel, that was already a box office success as a 1996 film. Let’s throw in a Matthew McConaughey (who played the lead in the film) look alike,...

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