Thursday, April 30, 2009

Pretty Theft

photo: Isaiah Tanenbaum

In this new play (from Flux Theatre Ensemble) by Adam Szymkowicz, the two lead male characters have markedly different impulses toward beauty - one, a traumatized group-home shut-in, wants to worship it while the other, a smooth-talking millionaire art dealer, seeks it for a darker purpose. Our likable but not especially judicious young heroine (played with sensitivity by Marnie Schulenburg) encounters both in the occasionally quirky-funny but generally unsettling play which is distinguished by a playful Mee-like collage surface and unifying undercurrents of sadness and of danger. I mean no disrespect to the theatrical economy of Angela Astle's clarifying direction nor to the playwright when I say that the material could be easily shaped into a screenplay: it has indie-movie sensibilities and attitude. Stand-out performers in the generally strong cast also include Zack Robidas, who provides howling comic relief as the heroine's appallingly selfish boyfriend, and Todd D'Amour who (as in What To Do When You Hate Your Friends last year) is excellent at conveying subtext.

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