We’ve reviewed plays that open windows into cultures we’re unfamiliar with. Often we’re left to wonder if what we’re seeing on stage is really representative of that culture, a broadly played interpretation or just the figment of a playwright’s imagination. After seeing Steve, I was left wondering, and not in a productive way, if gay men of a certain age all really have threeways, if there has to be one wise-cracking lesbian in the group, and what do gay men have against Amy Adams?
The play focuses on five friends — two couples, Stephen and Steven (how cute) and Brian and Matt, and the aforementioned lesbian, Carrie. Steven and Stephen are facing a crisis in their long-term relationship, as Stephen and Brian have been sexting. There are issues that resonate with anyone who has been in a relationship and is trying to keep the spark alive — but this group copes with bon mots, Broadway references and some diversions in the form of an unseen trainer (named Steve) and a young waiter (surprise – his name is Esteban). There is rueful laughter to be had throughout the show and the obvious affection between the group is affecting. Throw in the fact that Carrie has terminal cancer and you do get a glimpse of a group facing their mortality and the vagaries of life.
But even at 90 minutes this show dragged, The whole sexting subplot bordered on pornographic, and a “bit” where Stephen is fielding multiples messages from his mother, Steven’s mother, his and Steven’s son, Brian, and Carrie became predictable. The asides about the theater world were amusing but sometimes exclusionary and the ending was too tidied up. Steve had its sassy moments but too often fell flat. AFW
The New Group at Pershing Square Signature Center – 480 W 42nd Street
Tickets price: $75 – discounts available broadwaybox.com
Running time: 90 minutes, no intermission
Runt thru: January 3, 2016