Wednesday, June 18, 2008

A Perfect Couple

At first, Brooke Berman's latest play, A Perfect Couple, feels as forced as Isaac and Amy's relationship must be, a collection of well-worn memories held together by the projections of "everybody" involved in the production. But as it turns out, Berman's too-perfect structure is an intentional jab at such happiness, one that gives her the "perfect" opportunity to be gleefully glib. Maria Mileaf has assembled a top-notch cast, from the comic flirt, Annie McNamara (Emma), to the domineeringly deadpan Dana Eskelson (Amy). She's also had Neil Patel build a set that's up to task with the tone of the piece: a symbolically "perfect" blue outline of a house, its fixings (and feelings) all neatly cupboarded away. Even the men, who Mrs. Berman always seems to have difficulty writing in a balanced way (so much so, that at times, she comes across as a female Neil LaBute), are done justice by James Waterson's gropingly sincere Isaac, and Elan Mose-Bachrach's cheerfully intelligent Josh. It's all so happy that the plot has to force an artificial confrontation, but a few wine coolers later, it's near perfect again.

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