This is Our Youth was written in 1996 about kids during the Reagan era. Whether it’s because of the great script by Kenneth Lonergan, or maybe because youth of a certain socio-economic group hasn’t seemed to have changed much in the last 30 years, this show still has legs.
These are broken, disillusioned kids of wealthy Jewish liberals on New York’s Upper West Side – the zeitgeist of the 80’s. They find it hard to put away their toys and take up the business of being adult. Michael Cera plays to type as the quintessential nerd. He’s Warren – a smart but unmotivated college dropout who can’t score with girls. After an argument with his rich daddy, Warren steals $15,000. Then he panics and shows up at his friend Dennis’s door looking for refuge. Keiran Culkin is Dennis, a truly unlikable character and portrayed perfectly by Culkin. He’s a drug-dealer and deal-maker fueled by his own drug use and dishing out verbal abuse (specifically aimed at Warren). At Dennis’s prodding they decide to live large for the night – a double date, champagne and coke. Dennis and his (never seen) girlfriend take off to score the coke and leave her friend Jessica at the apartment with Warren. Jessica, a very good Tavi Gevinson, is feisty, argumentative and insecure (Gevinson is reminiscent of a young Michelle Williams). She helps bring out the best and worst in Warren, but ultimately helps him find some inner strength.
I found it surprising that the majority of the audience was young – a lot younger than one normally sees at a Broadway play. They probably came to see actors they know from film, but they (as did I) enjoyed and appreciated Lonergan’s fine writing and dark humor which was brought to life by an extraordinarily good cast. LAR
Cort Theater – 138 W 48th Street
Ticket prices: $35-$135, https://www.telecharge.com/Broadway/This-is-Our-Youth/Overview
Discounts available $45-$89 (valid thru 12/12) at BroadwayBox.com. Code: TIBBX813
Runs thru: January 4, 2015
Running time: 2 hours 20 minutes, w/one intermission