In the year that we’ve been writing this blog, I have never had so much trouble writing a review. I wanted to condense our three paragraph format to three words – DO NOT GO. But I felt I wasn’t giving readers enough information and wanted to explain my reasoning. I’ve seen bad plays before. I’ve wanted to walk out of shows, and have left shows at intermission. But there was no intermission in this 90-minute two-person show. The play left me feeling like a trapped animal, desperate to escape. This was beyond bad.
The partner-in-crime and I have disagreed in the past. She liked “The River” and I wanted to swim upstream and die. But we both left this show utterly baffled. What had we just seen? Did we miss reading some Cliff Notes that explained the action on the stage? The show is “about” a shooting in a chorus room. The woman is a survivor and the man plays both the perpetrator and other characters. We couldn’t figure out who else he was supposed to be and for such a charged topic didn’t find the play emotionally resonating at all.
Guest choirs perform as both singers and actors and the night we were there we were underwhelmed with the group. Their amateurishness worked against the play. I kept thinking of Saturday Night Live’s Dan Aykroyd showing audience “Bad Conceptual Theater” (look it up) and the scene in Airplane where people keep killing themselves as one character tells an overly long story. I felt insulted by a show that was so muddled and oblique and really seemed to have no point. If this was experimental theater I wish I wasn’t the guinea pig. AFW
New York Theater Workshop 79 East 4th Street
Discounts: None currently available
Running time: interminable at 90 minutes with no intermission
Runs thru: March 22, 2015