Sunday, May 24, 2009

Squiggy and the Goldfish


Photo: Elisha Schaefer

A brave, sharp performance by Josh Breslow as the title character (Squiggy, not the fish) can't make up for this play's weakness of focus. Abuse at the hands of his suicidal father has made Squiggy a cutter of long standing, though he's successfully hidden his scars from his ineffective, half-unmoored mother (Dana Aber). Terrorized by his cruel fiancée Veronica (the excellent Katrina Ylimaki) and her violent father (Jonathan Miles), Squiggy gets no relief even in his dreams, where a horror-movie psychiatrist and a nightstick-happy cop chase him through paranoid fantasies. As the realities of Squiggy's past and present tribulations (and those of the women in his life) are revealed to us, the characters stimulate aches of recognition, but the effect is too often subverted by Recovery Movement catchphrases, characters stating the obvious to one another, and narrative inconsistencies. Mr. Breslow does absolutely all he can to keep the play centered, but he can do only so much.

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