By David Walters
There’s a wonderful modern apartment set on the stage at the Audible Theater for the play Lucy. Modern whites and shades of gray, a little blonde wood and some chrome on the furniture. It’s the entrance to the apartment, the kitchen area, leading into a living room space with sofas, coffee table, no pictures on the walls but a bookshelf with nondescript books and a few personal snapshots interspersed. The bedrooms and bath are offstage through a couple of doorways. Some recessed lighting and a few track lights illuminate the space. And, surprisingly, there’s a brown water stain on the white ceiling in the dark shadowed corner above the kitchen that stands out from all the white walls and minimalism of the decorations. Something is not right in the state of Denmark. Something is broken just behind the drywall.
This stain is never talked about but is indicative of both the lives of the characters we’re about to meet as well as the script. They shouldn’t be there. It shouldn’t be there. There’s a fundamental break at the core that will only get worse and worse.
Lucy is basically a study of narcissism hidden in a domestic drama of jealousy and intimidation. Not particularly revealing, alarming, surprising, or even interesting. The audience, who can see the train wreck coming, can hear the train barreling down the track, can see the engine’s headlight blinding everything in front of it as it gets closer, sits in wonderment that the character Mary walks blindly onto the tracks even though the gate is down, and the warning lights and bell are going full tilt. The play is described as a thriller; there is nothing to get thrilled about. Watching a train wreck is not a thriller, it’s going to happen, there is no surprise. Everything is played and staged for an effect instead of a purpose.
The actors do their darnedest, acting up a storm, to try and lift the play off the page and give it a semblance of truth, but it’s too burdened by predictability which the audience immediately picks up on and ends up laughing at.
Yes, I’m being harsh, as the talent assembled and the production quality behind this show is very high caliber, but this caliber is not able to eke out of the script anything that makes us care or concerned for anyone on stage (except for Charlotte Surak who is able to, but only because she is an adorable six-year-old who gets too close to the edge of the stage when she’s dancing in the dark). We all saw the outcome on page two, why couldn’t anyone on stage?
The story is: Mary (Brooke Bloom), a due-next-week pregnant single radiologist with one child is losing her childcare and has been vetting a replacement for weeks. After much interviewing and calling all references, she hires Ashling (Lynn Collins), a 58-year-old career nanny with references going back half a century that don’t quite line up. From the moment Ashling comes in the apartment for the interview, everyone on the other side of the proscenium knows this isn’t going to work and everything will crumble into a royal mess. Two polar personalities that don’t listen to each other, and only hear what they want to hear. Surprise, surprise, royal mess.
It would have been more interesting if the water stain on the ceiling grew throughout the show as it would have been more of a surprise than where the plot ended up. After the final climax, the audience politely applauds as they grab their coats and quickly file out into the night.
The music choices between the many scenes were wonderful and became a welcome relief from the obvious happening on stage.
Lucy is written and directed by Erica Schmidt. Performances of the limited five-week-only engagement will begin Saturday, January 28, 2023, with an official opening on Sunday, February 5, 2023 at the Audible Minetta Lane Theatre (18 Minetta Lane, between MacDougal & 6th Avenue – one block south of W. 3rd Street).
Starring Brooke Bloom as the exhausted mom Mary, Lynn Collins as the nanny Ashling. Young Lucy is played alternatively by Charlotte Surak and Azalea Wolfe.
As always, this is just one person’s opinion in a world filled with them.