At NJ Rep Company in Long Branch, the play is always about more than the words. With excellence we have come to expect, Jessica Parks’ unusually spare set in Act I transforms into a welcoming, richly detailed space in Act II, paralleling the action of the script. The lighting, expertly selected by resident designer Jill Nagle, also tells the story, moving from a cool blue-gray sheen to the warmth of reds and browns.
This play may not be for you — unless you are a man, or a woman. If you’ve been married or in a relationship without ever having had a single bad or empty day… this play may not be for you. Otherwise, I hear dates are selling out fast. The Box Office has extended the run for two additional weeks through April 5.
You will recognize two of the actors as real-life husband and wife Michael Tucker and Jill Eikenberry of L.A. Law fame. They play Jerry and Maddie, a married couple for more than forty years. The third actor is Star, the outgoing young masseuse, played by Pheonix Vaughn. Tucker wrote the play.
If “enlightenment” is too big a word, maybe “discovery” is more like it. Discovery can come from an unlikely source. In fact, it may come from someone who has not done all the right things, the way you have. But if doing all the right things has brought you to this point — a dull stasis, a comfortable/uncomfortable routine, what Jerry calls “diminishment” — then were those the right things? Clearly, I am not going to tell you the story of the play because I don’t think that’s what a review should do. I prefer that you experience it.
This is an adult comedy, with what the ratings services call brief nudity, always a welcome sight on the right body. If that scares you, this play may not be for you, but I think I know you, and I feel sure you will be fine with it.
Oh, and did I say there are lots of laughs? There are lots of laughs.
The M Spot
By Michael Tucker; directed by Evan Bergman
WITH: Michael Tucker (Jerry), Jill Eikenberry (Maddie), Pheonix Vaughn (Star).
Jessica Parks (Set Design & Props), Brian Snyder (Technical Director,) Jill Nagle (Lighting Design), Merek Royce Press (Sound Design), Maria Hooper (Costume Design), and Jennifer Tardibuono (Stage Manager).
At the NJ Repertory Company, 179 Broadway, Long Branch, New Jersey.
For tickets, call 732-229-3166 or visit www.njrep.org
Runs through April 5, Thursdays & Fridays 8pm; Saturdays 3pm & 8pm; Sundays 2pm & 7pm